The controversy over which is better, drinking tap water or bottled water (mineral or treated) has a new element to consider. The traditional analyzes guarantee, in theory, the sanitary quality of the waters that we can find in stores, supermarkets and the like, but perhaps these studies do not contemplate with enough care the presence of small plastic particles from the bottle or cap of this type of water. drinks.
A study carried out with bottled water samples from some of the world's leading marketers indicates that the problem may be more important than previously believed.
93% of samples from 250 bottles of water (mineral or treated) in Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Lebanon, Mexico, Thailand and the United States contained plastic particles, according to information published byOrb Media, a collective of journalists based in the United States specialized in investigative reporting.
Among the companies that produce and pack the analyzed waters are some of the most important firms in the world
The analyzes on which this study is based have been carried out by the team led by the teacherSherri Mason, of theState University of New York in Fredonia (United States), although they have not been published at the moment in any scientific journal (the usual system of the scientific community to publicize the results of its most outstanding research).
The executive summary of this study, available at https://orbmedia.org/sites/default/files/FinalBottledWaterReport.pdf highlights that, in addition to finding microplastics of 6.5 and 100 microns in size in 93% of the bottles analyzed, it is surprising that 4% of these particles are related to industrial lubricants.
According to this information signed byChristopher Tyree and Dan Morrison, journalists from theOrb MediaAmong the companies that produce and pack the analyzed waters are some of the most important firms in the world. The technical report on which the newspaper article is based is signed bySherri A. Mason, Victoria Welch, Joseph Neratko and indicates that the analyzed samples correspond to water bottles from Aquafina, Dasani, Evian, Nestlé Pure Life and San Pellegrino (in the United States), Aqua (Indonesia), Bisleri (India), Epura (Mexico), Gerolsteiner (Germany). ), Minalba (Brazil) and Wahaha (China).
Plastic debris found include polypropylene, nylon microfibers, and polyethylene terephthalate (PET)
Some of the bottled waters that were analyzed came from treated or filtered water (not mineral water). For this reason, various batches of water from various bottling locations were analyzed. Thus, for example, bottles of the Mexican brand Epura from Tijuana in Baja California, Reynosa on the border with Texas and Mexico City were analyzed. To guarantee the procedure followed in these analyzes, the experts of theState University of New York They filmed and documented each of the steps of purchasing and studying the samples. In the case of the studies with waters from the United States (Aquafina, Dasani, Nestle Pure Life, Gerolsteiner, Evian, San Pellegrino) purchases were made throughAmazon.com.
The plastic remains found include polypropylene, nylon microfibers and polyethylene terephthalate (PET), products that can be used in the manufacture of the bottles themselves or their caps and labels. The study cannot pinpoint the exact provenance of each plastic particle, but the executive summary suggests that they may come, at least partially, from the bottling processes.
In the case of plastic particles in the 100 micron range, the analyzes performed revealed a global average of 10.4 plastic particles per liter. "Furthermore, the analyzes showed a much larger number of even smaller particles that the researchers indicated were likely plastic. The global average of these particles was 314.6 per liter ", indicate the authors.
The science-based journalistic report includes a technical section with some of the details of the analysis system used and warns that, in other parallel studies, the ingestion of some types of plastics is related to possible risks to people's health.
The organizationOrb Media indicates on its website that, "when journalists contacted two of the leading brands, they confirmed that their products contain microplastics, but said the Orb study significantly exaggerates the amount. ". Other brands declined to comment.
Orb Media published in September 2017 a journalistic report on the presence of plastic particles in water supplied by water supply services in cities of nine countries (samples from Spain were not analyzed in this case either). The authors of the research detected the presence of plastic waste in approximately 85% of the samples analyzed.
The data now presented indicate that the presence of microplastics is greater in bottled water than in tap water, and proposes that new studies be carried out on this problem on a global scale, in addition to reviewing national regulations on water quality controls packaged.
By Joaquim Elcacho
Journalist specialized in Environment and Science