(LibertySociety.com) – Millions of Americans choose to drink water from the bottle instead of the tap, but a new study has led to questions about potential health impact. The Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (PNAS) published its findings on January 8, revealing that bottled water is riddled with nanoplastics. The study showed that the nanoplastics were similar in size to viruses and that one bottle of water contains around 250,000 plastic fragments. According to The Hill, one of the study’s coauthors, Beizhan Yan, said that “microplastics are always in the environment,” but that they are much larger than what was found in bottled water.
Yan said that he was concerned about the much smaller size of the nanoplastics because they “are easy to get into the human bodies and then cross different barriers.” He elaborated further, claiming that the nanoparticles can enter the bloodstream and interfere with cellular function. Another study published by The Lancet also highlighted the dangers of nanoplastics entering the body, warning that they could cause interference in vital systems. It highlighted the potential impacts on the digestive system, including the microbial communities that aid in food digestion.
The PNAS study allowed scientists to use laser imaging to find and identify much smaller plastics. They used a small filter to trap the particles, which they then measured and attempted to identify. Ninety percent of the particles found were not plastic, but pieces of clay, metal, and carbon. The other 10 percent were nanoplastics. The scientists said that objects as small as what they found in three commonly consumed bottled water brands were cause for concern, but that the plastic was particularly worrisome.
The scientists explained that the chemical makeup of plastics is close to that of living organisms, which can allow them to appear to the body as chemical messengers. Those chemical messengers are responsible for initiating a host of bodily functions. Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) was the most commonly found nanoplastic in the bottled water they tested.
This was unsurprising to the scientists, as the bottles themselves are made of PET. Other nanoplastics found were nylon, polystyrene (Styrofoam), and polyvinyl chloride (PVC). Shockingly, the scientists found compounds from plastic that appeared to come from filters used for reverse osmosis, which is supposed to filter particles out of water. Finding polystyrene and PVC indicated that environmental contamination is at play. The scientists said that toxicologists would evaluate the findings to determine if water should continue to be consumed from plastic bottles.
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