Plastic particles found in 'brand after brand' of bottled water study

Top bottled water brands contaminated with plastic particles, report reveals

A recent study posted on orbmedia.org highlighted the issue after researchers tested 259 bottles of water from 11 brands across nine countries and discovered that 93 percent of the bottled waters contained microplastic contamination. One of the bottles tested had an incredible high concentration of 10,000 particles per litre.

"We need to understand if these things are unsafe, and if they occur in water at concentrations that are risky", World Health Organization coordinator Bruce Gordon said.

"As we become more aware of the prevalence of microplastics and the potential of harm they might cause, I think we need to start thinking now about how we can reduce those inputs", said Andrew Maye of University of East Anglia. "Between the microplastics in water, the toxic chemicals in plastics and the end-of-life exposure to marine animals, it's a triple whammy". Concerning findings from the State University of NY at Fredonia may make us rethink using a plastic water bottle.

Microplastics are well known water contaminants, and the teeny tiny particles come from cosmetics to clothing to consumer products made of plastic that naturally break down.

Nestle tested six bottles from three locations after an inquiry from Orb Media.

Nestlé was not satisfied with the method used to test the water, telling CBC News using Nile red dye could "generate false positives". However, due to their diminutive size and the fact that Nile Red dye can bind to other substances such as algae or chitin, they could not definitively be identified as plastic.

While some bottles had effectively zero plastic, one was found to contain over 10,000 particles per litre, according to the findings of Orb Media, a non-profit journalism organization based in Washington.

"This study analysed more than 250 bottles from 27 lots and 11 different brands from around the world, so it is the largest and most comprehensive study of water I know of to date, and nearly all were contaminated to some degree". The analysis was performed by Professor of Chemistry Sherri Mason and her team at her lab at the State University of NY. There were an average of four plastic particles per liter. Two of the leading brands confirmed that their products contained microplastic, but insisted that the Orb's study significantly overstated the amount.

Nestle and Gerolsteiner have responded to the results of the study.

"We still can not understand how the study reached the conclusions it did", the company said.

The Guardian contacted Nestlé and Boxed Water for comment on the Story of Stuff study, but had not received a response at the time of publication. They included brands like Aquafina, Dasani, Evian, Nestle Pure Life and others. The American Beverage Association said it "stood by the safety" of its bottled water, adding that the science around microplastics was only just emerging. They are having a profound effect on the environment.

Mason points out people can choose to not buy water in a plastic bottle, and to carry a refillable bottle instead.

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