Health & Wellness
Possibly 240,000 Plastic Nanoparticles in Your Water Bottle?
There Could Be 240,000 Plastic Nanoparticles (small fragments of plastic) in Your Disposable Water Bottle
The recent study, published on January 8 in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, sheds light on the presence of nanoplastics in bottled water, raising concerns about their potential health impacts. Nanoplastics are plastic fragments that are even smaller than microplastics, making them challenging to detect and filter out of consumer goods, particularly in the context of drinking water.
The research, led by Beizhan Yan, an Associate Research Professor at Columbia Climate School Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, focused on estimating the quantity of nanoplastics in bottled water. The study examined seven types of plastic, constituting approximately 10% of the nanoparticles found in water samples. This complexity in particle composition highlights the challenges in determining the exact nature of these plastic fragments.
The researchers found that, on average, a liter of bottled water contains a staggering 240,000 detectable plastic fragments. his significant presence of nanoplastics in commercially available
bottled water is alarming due to their ability to pass through various
bodily barriers, including the intestine, tissues, and the blood-brain
barrier. The potential health implications of nanoplastics exposure
remain a subject of ongoing research.
Health experts express concerns about nanoplastics acting as
endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs). These chemicals, leached
from plastic containers, can mimic natural hormones in the body,
such as bisphenol A (BPA), which mimics estrogen and activates
estrogen receptors. Moreover, nanoplastic chemicals can disrupt
certain systems in the body, including the pituitary and adrenal glands, and the thyroid organ.
Christopher Hine, a PhD from Cleveland Clinic Lerner Research Institute, who was not involved in the study, emphasizes the twofold challenge posed by nanoplastics: their difficulty in detection and filtration from consumer goods and their enhanced ability to cross various bodily barriers, potentially impacting multiple organ systems.
The study also addresses the broader issue of plastic contamination in consumer goods, attributing it to the intricate production process from raw material harvest to finishing, packaging, and shipping. Harmless chemicals in these goods can degrade over time due to exposure to environmental agents, leading to the formation of new chemical forms that may pose health risks.
Looking ahead, the researchers plan to expand their research platform to include a wider range of environmental samples, such as tap water, air samples, and biological tissues. The aim is to deepen understanding of the presence and impact of nanoplastics in these environments, including potential adverse health outcomes associated with exposure.
In terms of water safety, health experts recommend various measures. While tap water is generally considered safe, proper storage practices are crucial to avoid plastics leaching into the water. Water filters on faucets or used before drinking can help reduce the presence of micro- and nanoplastics. However, the importance of staying hydrated is emphasized, and experts do not advise against drinking bottled water when necessary, acknowledging that the risk of dehydration may outweigh potential impacts from nanoplastics exposure.
In conclusion, the study underscores the urgency of addressing nanoplastics in drinking water, highlighting the need for ongoing research, awareness, and precautionary measures to ensure the safety of water consumption.
Source: Employee Benefit News