A new study published by non-profit journalism organization Orb Media has put some of the world’s leading bottled water brands in the spotlight.
Researchers at the State University of New York in Fredonia examined 250 bottles purchased across nine different countries, only to discover numerous plastic particles residing in the packaged aqua. On average, 10 plastic particles were found per liter, each measuring broader than the width of a human hair.
Names include leading global brands Aquafina (owned by PepsiCo), Dasani, Evian, Nestle Pure Life, San Pellegrino, as well as top national brands Aqua (Indonesia), Bisleri (India), Epura (Mexico), Gerolsteiner (Germany), Minalba (Brazil), and Wahaha (China).
Image via Orb Media
In an interview with the BBC, Sherri Mason—chemistry professor at the university—shared that the objective wasn’t about putting blame on any particular brand, but rather highlighting the concern that plastic has become so pervasive in society, such that it’s invaded what humans consume at a very basic level.
The microplastics were found to contain polypropylene, which is found in bottle caps. One theory is that the plastic fragments shed into the water when the caps are opened. Mason explained to AFP that the contamination could also be attributed to the plastic bottling process.
There is no substantial evidence to prove that ingesting microplastics causes severe harm to humans, and research is currently ongoing to explore its possible implications.
The brands involved in this study have maintained that their products are manufactured according to the utmost standards for safety and quality. The companies also expressed the lack of proper regulations when it came to microplastics, and the absence of homogeneous procedures for testing its presence.
The BBC reported that in 2017, professor Mason also detected microplastic in tap water. Other researchers have sounded out their existence in seafood, beer, sea salt, and even in the air.
Nestle, Gerolsteiner, Coca-Cola, Danone, and PepsiCo have responded to the BBC’s request for comment following the research findings, which you can read in their entirety here.
Recently, concerns over plastic pollution have also grown substantially. Earlier this month, a British diver’s underwater video, featured below, that reveals the appalling extent of plastic pollution in Bali’s waters went viral. Around the same time, news of more cities banning the use of plastic straws surfaced on the New York Times. The metropolises fighting the non-biodegradable-straw war presently include the cities of Malibu, Davis, and San Luis Obispo in California, Seattle in Washington, as well as Miami Beach and Fort Myers in Florida.
More brands are also stepping up to the plate with regards to plastic pollution, including McDonald’s. Plastic, however, remains as one of the world’s biggest design failures that sorely needs a solution. Thankfully, some resolutions that have surfaced include edible straws, as well as package-free retail offerings.
Learn how the test was carried out in Orb Media’s video below. You can check out the complete report here, which includes a chart that breaks down the range of particles per liter of bottled water according to brand.
Video via Orb Media
‘So much plastic!’: Diver Rich Horner captures video of himself swimming through a deluge of waste off the coast of Bali, Indonesia.
Posted by The Guardian on Tuesday, March 6, 2018