Does bottled water go bad? Research Reveals Harmful Nano plastics Threatening Human Health
According to the study, the amount of nanoplastics in bottled water is between 10 and 100 times greater than what was previously thought to be present. Because they are so small—less than one micrometer—nanoplastics have the ability to enter human cells and perhaps spread dangerous synthetic compounds throughout the body. Although microplastics have been known to be present in water for some time, a thorough examination has not been possible due to their inability to be detected. By using stimulated Raman scattering microscopy, an innovative technology, researchers were able to categorize and identify several types of plastics found in bottled water, defying preconceived notions about their sources and amounts.
Researchers have found that bottled water now contains an astounding number of tiny plastic particles—far more than previously estimated.
According to a recent investigation published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, there are over 240,000 identifiable plastic fragments in every liter of bottled water. These tiny plastic components, known as nanoplastics, were discovered by scientists using lasers that were calibrated to cause resonance in particular molecules.
What percentage of plastic is in bottled water?
It is well known that plastic may be found in water. According to a 2018 study, there are typically 300 plastic particles—most of which are microplastics, or particles smaller than five millimeters—per liter of water.
In this most recent investigation, scientists investigated nanoplastics, which are particles with a diameter of less than 1 micrometer—a size far outweighed by the diameter of a human hair, which is around 70 micrometers. The increased ability to examine nanoplastics disclosed a 10- to 100-fold increase in plastic particle burden in bottled water compared to earlier findings.
How were the plastics found by the scientists?
Researchers from Columbia University and Rutgers University conducted experiments on three well-known brands of bottled water that are sold in the United States; however, they did not reveal which brands were the subject of the investigation. The researchers examined the samples for seven common plastic kinds using a laser-based technique created by study co-author Wei Min, a biophysicist at Columbia, before using a data-driven algorithm for analysis.
According to a news release, Min stated that identifying plastic is one thing, but understanding the type of substance found is quite another.
According to the research, there were between 110,000 and 370,000 particles per liter, of which 90% were microplastics and 90% were nanoplastics.
The International Bottled Water Association responded to the study by pointing out that there is a lack of scientific agreement and standardised assessment techniques on the possible health effects of nano- and microplastic particles. Consequently, consumers may be unduly alarmed by media stories about microscopic particles in drinking water.
What effects does this have on health?
According to health officials, people can come into contact with microplastics via eating, breathing, or ingesting them. Even though the majority of microplastics are normally eliminated by the human body, tiny particles may nevertheless remain in our systems.
The authors of the research hypothesize that because nanoplastics are smaller than microplastics and may more easily enter the human body, they may be more hazardous.
Experts emphasize the potential health risks associated with nanoplastics, particularly their ability to transport toxic chemicals into the body’s organs, including the brain and unborn children. Concerns also extend to the lack of understanding regarding the impact of plastic polymers themselves on human health. While acknowledging the need for further research, recommendations include opting for tap water from glass or stainless steel containers to minimize exposure to plastic pollutants. However, the International Bottled Water Association calls for cautious interpretation, citing the absence of standardized methods for measuring nanoplastics and the uncertain consensus on their health effects.
It’s still unclear exactly what health dangers tiny plastic shards provide. Three possible concerns have been identified by the World Health Organization: the particles themselves, the chemicals that make them up, and the possibility of microbial adhesion and colonization, or “biofilms.”
The WHO technical officer, Jennifer de France, acknowledged that the perceived risk was minimal based on the evidence that was available, but she emphasized that future dangers cannot be completely ruled out.
Beizhan Yan, an environmental chemist at Columbia University, expressed worries on the possibility of nanoplastics being so small that they may penetrate the bloodstream and eventually reach essential organs. Phoebe Stapleton of Rutgers University brought up the notion that these particles may avoid gastrointestinal cells.
In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates bottled water products. While the FDA generally does not comment on specific research, it evaluates these results in order to promote public health and advance understanding.
Water filtering devices that eliminate particles bigger than one micron are required by current standards to be installed during the water production process. The International Bottled Water Association highlights both the lack of scientific agreement on potential health effects and the efficacy of a multi-barrier approach to protecting bottled water from potential contamination.
Plastics #Nanoplastics #BottledWater #EnvironmentalHealth #MicroplasticResearch