News Feature | March 20, 2018

Bottled Water Contains More Plastics Than Tap Water

Sara Jerome

By Sara Jerome,
@sarmje

bottled water reg new

Drinking bottled water may mean guzzling down tiny bits of plastic.

New research compared microplastics in tap water and bottled water. Tap water came out on top.

“For microplastic debris around 100 microns in size, about the diameter of a human hair, bottled water samples contained nearly twice as many pieces of microplastic per liter (10.4) than the tap water samples (4.45),” according to the new report.

That’s despite the fact that some consumers believe tap water is not as clean as bottled water, a belief that is disputed by research.

Orb Media, a nonprofit journalism group, conducted the tests at State University of New York. The researchers released their findings in a report titled “Plus Plastic: Microplastics Found in Global Bottled Water.”

“Tests on major brands of bottled water have found that nearly all of them contained tiny particles of plastic. In the largest investigation of its kind, 250 bottles bought in nine different countries were examined. Research led by journalism organization Orb Media discovered an average of 10 plastic particles per liter, each larger than the width of a human hair,” BBC News reported.

Spokespeople for brands tested in the study said their operations met the highest standards, according to the BBC. Major brands including Aquafina, Dasani, and Evian were included in the study.

Plastics including polypropylene, nylon and polyethylene terephthalate were found in the samples, CBS News reported.

Experts have long held that tap water is not inferior to bottled water.

“Tap water and bottled water are generally comparable in terms of safety. So the choice of tap or bottled is mostly a matter of personal preference. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) oversees bottled water, while the U.S. EPA regulates tap water. However, they use similar standards for ensuring safety,” according to the Mayo Clinic.

Image credit: "24.365_bottled_water" Todd Morris © 2010, used under an Attribution 2.0 Generic license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/