There’s a new focus on microplastics and their potential harm to human health. Microplastics – which are found virtually everywhere – are tiny plastic particles that come from sources such as the breakdown of larger plastic items. Recent studies suggest that human consumption of microplastics is on the rise, with one of the leading culprits being plastic water bottles. The effects are still unclear, but microplastics can be absorbed by cells and the bloodstream, leading to a range of ailments.
Recently, Kieran Cox, a PhD candidate at the University of Victoria and a former Link Fellow at the Smithsonian Institute, led a study of common sources of microplastics and the extent of human consumption. The study suggests that many Americans are consuming more than 120,000 particles of microplastics per year. Researchers found that “people who drink exclusively from plastic water bottles ingest an additional 90,000 microplastics each year, compared to 4,000 among those who only consume tap water.”
As reported by Smithsonian.com, there is “evidence to suggest that microplastics can penetrate the human body through cellular uptake in the lungs or gut. Once in the gut, microplastic particles may release harmful toxins. They can also enter tissue and the bloodstream.”
“For those worried about microplastic consumption,” the article states, “cutting out bottled water is a good place to start, the study authors say. But to really get to the heart of the problem, we have to stop producing and using so much plastic.”
Bottom line: there is so much evidence to suggest that plastic water bottles are harmful for humans and the environment. Discontinuing the use of plastic water bottles is one of the best things you can do for yourself and the planet. And, if you are concerned about the safety of your tap water, invest in a water filtration system to ensure that you’ll always have access to clean and chemical-free water from every tap in your home.