Miami: The top leading brands of bottled water have been found contaminated with minute plastic particles, likely being seeped in during their packaging process, said a major study that published across nine countries on Wednesday. Plastic was found in 93 percent of the tested samples, that included brands Aqua, Aquafina, Dasani, Evian, Nestle Pure Life and San Pellegrino.
“Widespread contamination with plastic was found in the study, led by microplastic researcher Sherri Mason of the State University of New York at Fredonia,” according to a summary released by Orb Media, a US-based non-profit media collective. Where researchers had tested 250 bottles of water in Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Lebanon, Mexico, Thailand, and the United States.
The pollutants found in water had polypropylene, nylon, and polyethene terephthalate (PET) particles, used to make bottle caps. “65 percent of the particles we found were actually fragments and not fibres,” Mason told AFP.
“I think it is coming through the process of bottling the water. I think that most of the plastic that we are seeing is coming from the bottle itself, it is coming from the cap, it is coming from the industrial process of bottling the water.”
Particle concentration ranged from “zero to more than 10,000 likely plastic particles in a single bottle,” said the report.
Other brands such as Bisleri, Epura, Gerolsteiner, Minalba and Wahaha, were also tested to be contaminated. While throwing light on these particles’ effect on health, Mason said “There are connections to increases in certain kinds of cancer to lower sperm count to increases in conditions like ADHD and autism.”
“We know that they are connected to these synthetic chemicals in the environment and we know that plastics are providing kind of a means to get those chemicals into our bodies.” Previous research by Orb Media has found plastic particles in tap water, too, but on a smaller scale. “Tap water, by and large, is much safer than bottled water,” said Mason.
The chief policy officer for North America at Oceana, Jacqueline Savitz, said the study provides more evidence that the society must give up using plastic water bottles. “We know plastics are building-up in marine animals, and this means we too are being exposed, some of us, every day. It’s more urgent now than ever before to make plastic water bottles a thing of the past,” she said.