Plastic pollution is not only a problem of the sea. Plastic micro-particles now attack the water bottle you are holding. That is a worrying conclusion from a study in Frontiers in Chemistry. In it, the scientists analyzed 259 bottled water samples sold in some countries, and found that 93% of them contained micro-synthetic plastic particles.
Many of those particles are not too small. Some people can certainly see them with the naked eye without a magnifying glass or microscope, said Sherri Mason, author of the study from Penn State Erie University, USA.
All 11 bottled water brands tested in Mason's research are the most popular brands in the United States and around the world.
Researchers found different concentrations of micro-particles from bottled water samples of different brands. But on average, each liter of water will contain 325 micro-plastic particles.
Nestlé Pure Life is the water that has the largest average resin concentration of all tested brands; A water sample from this brand was found with a concentration of 10,000 micro-plastic particles per liter.
On average, each liter of bottled water will contain 325 micro-plastic particles.
Mason's discovery prompted the World Health Organization (WHO) to investigate the safety of bottled water. The results of that review will be announced later this year, according to a WHO spokesman.
But Mason said that the problem of micro-plastic pollution goes beyond water bottles. "These plastic particles are now available both in the air, in water and in our soil", she speaks.
Last month, a study published in the journal Nature Geoscience showed that micro plastic particles are traveling in the air in the green Pyrenees in France. Another study published this year shows that micro plastic contamination appears in US groundwater.
Phoebe Stapleton, a professor of pharmacology and toxicology at Rutgers University said: "Whenever and wherever we want to find micro-plastic particles, they all appear".
"Everywhere"Professor Stapleton mentions including human body. A small 2018 study analyzed volunteers' stool samples in Finland, Japan, Italy, Russia and other countries. see micro plastic particles have invaded the human intestine.
"We know that people come into contact with these plastic particles daily"Professor Stapleton said.
"We know that they enter our bodies through the gastrointestinal tract and the respiratory tract, and depending on the size of the microparticles, we know that they can overcome natural physiological barriers. This means that some of these plastic beads are small enough to pass through the body's protective tissues and into the blood as well as internal organs."she explained further.
There is also evidence of laboratory and animal tissue samples in the laboratory showing that pregnant children can transfer these micro-plastic beads to their unborn babies.
"Preliminary study [trên chuột] from our team and the study published by other scientists, showed that after exposure to the mother, these micro-plastic particles tend to cross the placental barrier and enter the fetal cavity. , deposition in their internal organs"Professor Stapleton said.
Micro-plastic particles can enter the human body
However, what we do not know for sure is how exposure to these micro-particles affects human health.
"Unfortunately, we currently do not know the consequences and toxicity of these exposures"Professor Stapleton said."The long-held idea is that the plastic particles accumulating in our bodies are annoying and scary. However, we still need research to prove it [tác động tiêu cực] can confirm ".
Even so, other researchers say we know enough to see exposure to micro-plastic particles as a threat to human health. "In animal models and in human epidemiological studies, we have found a correlation between plastic particle exposure and known health hazards."Frederick vom Saal, a biology professor at the University of Missouri, said.
He said that science had evidence that plastics and chemical pollutants were associated with toxicity.
"Scientists say they are related to obesity and other metabolic diseases like diabetes and heart disease, as well as cancer and reproductive problems, including neurological problems like tangles. lack of concentration"Professor Frederick said."If you look at the trend of non-communicable diseases around the world, you will see a correlation between exposure to pollutants. [nhựa] this ".
Although the correlation is not causal, it is probably the most authentic evidence we can get. Professor Frederick said the cause data and direct results would be difficult to have.
To do that, suppose a scientist will deliberately expose pregnant women to specific microparticles to observe their biological effects. This experiment is obviously unethical. This means that studies of the impact of micro-plastic particles on health can only advance to the correlation models, or extrapolate the results from animal and in vitro model tests, he said.
In 2010 alone, up to 12 million tons of plastic were poured into the world's oceans
Based on existing data, Professor Frederick said that people know enough to realize that they need to change the way plastic is used and processed. "Many of these effects are the result of pouring billions of pounds of plastic into the environment", according to him.
A 2017 study found that 79% of all man-made plastics eventually ended up in landfills or in nature. In 2010 alone, up to 12 million tons of plastic were poured into the world's oceans, research shows.
Ironically, the volume and diversity of plastic exposure is one of the major challenges faced by researchers, if it is to try to show that these pollutants can make people sick.
We all come in contact with a lot of chemicals every day, if you are 30 years old and you develop a rare form of cancer, no one can blame for something you have been exposed to, Mason said. . That causal connection is basically impossible.
Many Mason studies have found plastic contamination in tap water, beer and sea salt. While it is inevitable to continue exposing to micro-plastic particles, Mason said that her focus on specific products like bottled water has two reasons.
To begin with, she said that most of the plastic micro particles that her research found in plastic water bottles turned out to be polypropylene pieces, which are used to make bottles.
"This seems to suggest that bottling activity contributes to the exposure of plastic particles to water"She said that at the particle size that she and her colleagues can detect and measure, this concentration of plastic is twice that of tap water or beer.
"Bottled water is marketed as if it is cleaner than tap water, but many studies do not show that", Mason said."Based on all the data we have, you will drink less plastic particles if you drink tap water instead of buying bottled water. ".
According to an estimate, Americans alone are buying 50 million plastic water bottles each year.
In that context, Nestlé Waters North America issued a statement stating their bottled water is of quality and safety. Nestlé said:
"So far, our test has not found that the plastic in our plastic bottled water products exceeds the limit.. We have shared our expertise and we are working with the scientific community to improve our understanding of this topic".
Another reason to focus on bottled water, Mason said, is that the plastic bottles of water are contributing primarily to the problem of plastic pollution worldwide. According to an estimate, Americans are buying 50 million plastic water bottles each year.
"Saying no to bottled water, plastic bags and plastic straws is the basic thing we can all do to make a significant impact on the amount of plastic ultimately discharged into the environment."she said.
Reducing the amount of bottled water we drink will also save billions of dollars for US consumers. Along with the money you spend to pay for plastic water bottles, you can use it to help every person on the planet access to three times more clean water, Mason said.