Plastic in our oceans, microplastic in our bodies

This year we consumed more than 250 Bn single-use plastic bottles worldwide. Of which less than 10% were recycled. Europeans now buy more bottled water than soda despite the fact that we have drinkable tap water.

Consumers are buying, lifting, consuming and disposing of single-use bottles. For this, they pay 500 times more than tap water. As if this wasn’t enough 90% of bottled water contains microplastics, plastic leaches into the water and our bodies get contaminated with BPA and phthalates of which we don’t yet understand the long-term impact.

Furthermore, most of the plastic ends up in landfills where it breaks down into microplastics that end up in the groundwater, rivers and eventually the oceans polluting all living organisms.

Maybe you have read the recent news that 93% of bottled water around the world and 92% of tap water is contaminated with microplastics. A recent report also concludes that the average person could be ingesting 100,000 pieces or 250 g of microplastics per year. 

What do we know about the health impact of and how can you remove microplastics from your tap water?

How much microplastics does bottled water contain?

The two studies of of bottled water and tap water by Orb Media are the largest of their kind. Orb Media analysed 250 bottles from 9 different countries around the globe. An average of 40 plastic particles per gallon, each larger than the width of a human hair, were found in bottled water.

See original infographic by Statista here.

Read more about Orb’s bottled water study here.

What about microplastics in tap water?

It’s not just bottled water. Another study by Orb Media, found that 94% of tap water in the USA and 72% in Europe contained microplastics. There are therefore good reasons to be concerned about how to filter microplastics from tap water.

Read more about Orb’s tap water study here and here.

How much microplastics do we consume?

New research combining the results of more than 50 studies globally has found that on average, people could be ingesting about 5g of plastic every week – equivalent to a credit card – in the air they breathe, the food they eat and, especially, the water they drink.

This amounts to about 100,000 tiny pieces of plastic – or 250g – every year, said the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and the University of Newcastle. The study was commissioned by WWF and done by the Australian university.

Read more in the WWF report.

Or check out the summary by CNN, and this video.

“people could be ingesting the equivalent of a credit card a week”

How can you remove microplastics from tap water at home?

First of all, the smallest microplastics measured by Orb in tap water were about 2.5 micrometres, although most considerably bigger. It’s important to understand the size as this will impact the type of filtering required.

There are three types of filters that will help remove microplastics of this size:

  • Granular Activated Carbon (GAC): Filters contaminants down to about 5 micron so will remove most but not all microplastics.
  • Reverse Osmosis filters: Can filter down to to 0.001 micron so will remove all known microplastics.

What microplastics filter should you choose?

As we don’t know enough about microplastics in drinking water yet, there is no definite answer. To be on the safe side, a reverse osmosis membrane is the most sufficient way to keep the family safe from microplastics.

We hope that the above information has been helpful in explaining the origin of microplastic and what you can do to avoid it. In any case, just have a look at the rest of our website and you will find more in-depth information about our service.

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