Our drinking water is adulterated with tiny bits of plastic

Mary Kosuth, who performed tests for the Orb Media study at the University of Minnesota, wrote that this study is just the first step in determining how serious – and widespread – the issue of plastic contamination in tap water is.

Tiny pieces of plastic have been found in drinking water on five continents – from Trump Tower in NY to a public tap on the shores of Lake Victoria in Uganda – posing a potential risk to people’s health, researchers said on Wednesday. “Scientists say they don’t really know how these microplastics reach our taps or what the health risks might be”.

According to Orb, such material, known as microplastics, has been shown to absorb toxic chemicals linked to cancer and other illnesses, which are then released when consumed by fish, farm animals and humans. I am concerned by the implications of our research.

European nations including the UK, Germany and France had the lowest contamination rate, but this was still 72%.

In addition to the tap water being tainted, plastic pollution poses a negative effect on marine life and seabirds, and ultimately the human food chain.

The study, conducted with researchers from the State University of NY and the University of Minnesota, tested 159 tap water samples from five different continents, according to Public Radio International. Indeed, previous European research into microscopic plastic fibres led Frank Kelly, professor of environmental health at King’s College London, to tell a United Kingdom parliamentary inquiry a year ago: “If we breathe them in they could potentially deliver chemicals to the lower parts of our lungs and maybe even across into our circulation”.

Another scientist, Sherri Mason, a microplastics expert at the State University of NY in Fredonia who supervised the analyses, said studies of wild animals have already raised concerns. “Now what we need is a determination to get it done before it gets us”.

In the United States, plastic fibers were found in water samples collected from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s headquarters, Congressional buildings and Trump Tower in NY. The specific rate of prevalence in different locales varied, but all tested locations – from Europe to Jakarta and Beirut – saw plastic found in over 70% of tap water samples.

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