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Major brands of bottled water contaminated with microplastics

Orb Media has revealed that a shocking majority of bottled water distributed by industry leaders is contaminated with microplastics.

The nonprofit organization teamed up with experts at the State University of New York (SUNY) to analyze 250 water bottles from 11 top brands include Evian, Nestle, and San Pellegrino.

Of the bottles tested, 93 percent were found to be contaminated with plastics such as nylon, polypropylene, and polyethylene terephthalate (PET).

SUNY Professor Sherri Mason told the BBC that microplastics were found in “bottle after bottle and brand after brand.”

Using infrared microscopic technology, the researchers found that the level of pollution in the water bottles had a global average of 10.4 plastic particles per liter.

The experts also found smaller particles that averaged 314.6 per liter, which they believe are also likely to be plastics.

According to Orb Media, samples from 19 locations in 9 countries on 5 continents contained anywhere between zero to over 10,000 particles of plastic.

Erik Solheim is the Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Program.

“This is shocking,” Solheim told Orb Media. “Please name one human being on the entire planet who wants plastic in his or her bottle.”

Previously, researchers at Orb had found the presence of microscopic plastic fibers in tap water samples from across the planet. The current study by the nonprofit organization is the first of its kind to show microplastic contamination in bottled water.

The research team first injected a dye that binds to plastic called Nile Red into each bottle. The water was then filtered to 0.0015 millimeters, when a microscopic view of the products revealed tiny plastic particles that glowed “like tiny embers” though orange goggles.

Bigger particles were also detected and, while most contamination was found in plastic bottles, some water contained in glass bottles was also polluted with plastics.

The extent of health issues that could be caused by microplastic contamination is currently unknown.

Martin Wagner is a toxicologist at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology.

“Based on current knowledge, which is very fragmentary and incomplete, there is little health concern,” Wagner told Orb Media. “The human body is well-adapted to dealing with non-digestible particles.”

By Chrissy Sexton, Staff Writer

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