90% bottled water brands contaminated globally

There is no evidence that consuming such small particles of plastic has any ill health effects

Now a new report from the State University of NY at Fredonia and journalists at Orb Media found that more than 90 percent of bottled water showed signs of contamination from microplastics.

A recent study posted on orbmedia.org highlighted the issue after researchers tested 259 bottles of water from 11 brands across nine countries and discovered that 93 percent of the bottled waters contained microplastic contamination. Reverse osmosis filters and ion exchange system are more effective because they can remove smaller particles, Elbracht said.

Plastic is such a "pervasive" material that almost every branded bottle of water tested in the largest investigation of its kind contained tiny particles of it.

The tests were carried out at the State University of NY in Fredonia as part of a project involving original research and reporting by the US-based journalism organisation Orb Media.

How ingesting plastics affects humans is still not 100 percent certain as this is an emergent field of study, according to the National Institutes of Health. Leading global brands in this study included Aquafina, Dasani, Evian, Nestle Pure Life, and San Pellegrino.

Researchers tested 250 bottles of water in Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Lebanon, Mexico, Thailand, and the United States.

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Researcher Abigail Barrows of Ocean Analytics, who carried out the research for Story of Stuff in her laboratory in ME, told The Guardian there were several possible routes for the plastics to be entering the bottles.

"Microplastics have been reported in tap water, beer and many other foods, but I think that people will be surprised that nearly all bottled water appears to be contaminated too". So, partly in response to Orb Media's research, the World Health Organization has now told the BBC it is launching its own review into the potential risks. "Microplastics cannot only be found in bottled water as recent studies are showing, but also in tap water as well as in fish and seafood we are eating", said Elbracht. This figure is just an average though, with some bottles containing very few and some containing magnitudes more.

Concentrations were as high as 10,000 plastic pieces for every litre of water.

"These are foreign hard particles which our body will obviously want to get rid of but it can't because plastic is not degradable so that will cause harm to the local tissue". Only 17 of those bottles were free of plastic contamination.

NestleĢ was not satisfied with the method used to test the water, telling CBC News using Nile red dye could "generate false positives".

However, there are some bottled water brands that are specially created for kids and are bottled in glass recipients.

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Orb consulted several toxicologists and microplastics experts throughout the entire process who also reviewed the findings.

Researchers used fluorescent tagging with Nile Red dye to study the microplastic contamination.

Gerolsteiner also said its tests showed a "significantly lower quantity of microplastics per litre" in its products.

Questions continue to be raised around the safety of drinking bottled water, with fears that plastic would be contaminating the water consumed.

Minalba told Orb that it abides by the Brazilian government's quality and security standards.

Brands Biserli and Wahaha did not respond to Orb's request for comment.

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