Is bottled drinking water safer than tap water? Findings could shock you

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New Delhi | Published: March 15, 2018 4:55:16 PM

The test shared that for plastic particles in the 100 micron, or 0.10 millimetre size range, there are an average 10.4 plastic particles in a bottle per litre.

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Is it safe to say that packaged drinking water is purer and healthier than tap water? Think again! A recent study conducted across nine countries by Orb Media, a non-profit journalism organisation based in Washington, D.C., shows that a single bottle can contain dozens or possibly even thousands of microscopic plastic particles. The research was led by microplastic researcher Sherri Mason. The test shared that for plastic particles in the 100 micron, or 0.10 millimetre size range, there are an average 10.4 plastic particles in a bottle per litre. Test carried on more than 250 bottles from 11 brands in countries like Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Lebanon, the United States and other countries further revealed that contamination with plastic included polypropylene, nylon, and polyethylene terephthalate (PET). The summary released by Orb Media said that ‘widespread contamination’ with plastic was found in the study.

Some of the reputed brands, when contacted, about the contamination of water confirmed that their products contain micro-plastic but denied reports of the amounts of contamination per litre, as suggested by Orb Media. Significant pointers revealed from the study are listed below:

1. Test showed greater number of even smaller particles that analysts said are likely plastic particles. Global average for these plastic particles were 314.6 per litre.

2. Samples from 19 location around the globe showed plastic particles ranging from 0-10,000 particles per litre.

3. 93 per cent of the samples showed plastic particles which included top brands like Aqua, Aquafina, Dasani, Evian, Nestle Pure Life and San Pellegrino.

4. Present of plastic particles confirmed connection to increase in certain kinds of cancer to lower sperm count. The study also showed increase in conditions like ADHD (Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) and autism, according to Mason.

5. Orb Media’s study on global tap water also found considerable amount of plastic but on a smaller scale than packaged drinking water.

6. Brands like Aquafina showed particles in their bottles ranging from 2-1,295 while in Bisleri the range was from 0-5,230.

7. Nestle Pure Life came up as the most contaminated bottled drinking water as the particles per litre ranged from 6-10,390.

As many as 2.1 billion people are consuming unsafe drinking water with 4,000 children succumbing everyday from water-borne diseases. However, the recent research has put the reputation of the biggest water brands in doubt while the companies continue to claim that their products match the standards set by the governments.

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