If you typically drink your water out of a plastic water bottle, you aren’t alone — statistics show that Americans used about 50 billion plastic water bottles last year alone. Many of us do this out of convenience, but as it turns out, we may be hurting ourselves in the process. A new study shows that drinking from disposable water bottles might be really bad for us. If you have a reusable water bottle, you’re probably going to want to whip it out ASAP.
After looking at a study on the potential risks of plastic in drinking water, the World Health Organization (WHO) has announced that they will be reviewing the safety of plastic water bottles. The study analyzed 259 bottles from 19 locations in nine countries across 11 different brands (so it was pretty thorough). Researchers found an average of 352 plastic particles for every liter of water being sold. They discovered that more than 90% of the bottles contained tiny pieces of plastic. That’s definitely not what you want to be consuming when you’re trying to be healthy by drinking water.
The researchers say that concentrations were as high as 10,000 plastic pieces for every liter of water. After looking at 259 bottles, the study said that only 17 didn’t have plastic particles.
In other words, the odds of you drinking from from disposable water bottles that don’t contain loose plastic is looking pretty slim.
The most common type of plastic particle found was polypropylene, which is the same type of plastic that is used to make bottle caps. The researchers looked at bottles from the U.S., China, Brazil, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Lebanon, Kenya, and Thailand. The brands they tested were “Aqua (Danone), Aquafina (PepsiCo), Bisleri (Bisleri International), Dasani (Coca-Cola), Epura (PepsiCo), Evian (Danone), Gerolsteiner (Gerolsteiner Brunnen), Minalba (Grupo Edson Queiroz), Nestlé Pure Life (Nestlé), San Pellegrino (Nestlé), and Wahaha (Hangzhou Wahaha Group).” There are so many familiar names on that list!
So, should you be worried?
A WHO spokesman told The Guardian that, so far, there’s no evidence of an impact on human health, but they are viewing it as an area of concern. They need to take more time to review the situation before they get some concrete answers.
Just to really drive the point home, there was another, unrelated study done that found similar results. It was commissioned by the campaign group Story of Stuff and looked at 19 consumer bottled water brands in the U.S. It found that plastic microfibres were pretty much everywhere, in brands like Boxed Water, Nestlé, and Fiji Water.
If you drink bottled water to try to stay away from what might be in tap water, you might want to rethink that. Scientists at the State University of New York in Fredonia “found roughly twice as many plastic particles within bottled water” as they did with tap water.
The moral of the story? Invest in a water filtration system, buy yourself a reusable water bottle (preferably one made of glass), and stop buying plastic. It’s bad for the environment, and it’s probably bad for your health as well. It’s time to switch it up.