Did you know your bottled water and even your tap water probably contain teensy, tiny pieces of plastic?
Yuck! These little slivers, called microplastics, are less than 5 millimeters in size. They can come from a variety of sources. And they’re everywhere. That plastic bottle of water you buy at the store may contain miniscule scraps left over from production of the bottle itself. Surface water runoff that picks up bits of plastic is another potential source. Treated water might contain microscopic pieces not filtered out during treatment.
The World Health Organization recently released a report on microplastics in water. The report says no negative effects to human health have been identified so far in research studies. At this point, it does not label microplastics in drinking water as a significant health concern. But the WHO also notes that only a few studies have been completed, and some are not high-quality.
The organization called for greater study of the matter. It also noted that plastic pollution poses great risks to the environment and called for more study of how microplastics affect small organisms. How might tiny plastic slivers affect the little bugs or the good bacteria on which our environment relies? It’s no secret that human health, ultimately, is tied to the health of our environment.
To recap: Microplastics in the water you drink are nothing to freak about, but there’s much to be learned. And, their effect on the environment is important to consider. Reducing our use of plastics is critical for the environment. Because we depend on the environment, this is a message we can’t afford to ignore.