Plastics found in 90% of bottled water in nine-country survey

NEW DELHI March 16,2018: Summer is fast approaching and before you quench thirst by gulping water from plastic bottle think twice.

A study by scientists from the State University of New York has found that more than 90% of bottled water worldwide, including India, contains tiny pieces of plastic, media reports said.

The researchers tested 259 individual bottles across 11 brands sold in nine countries, including Brazil, China, India, Indonesia and the USA.

Samples in India were drawn from 19 locations in Mumbai, Delhi and Chennai. Top global brands including Aquafina, Evian as well as the Indian brand Bisleri were tested. A Bisleri sample from Chennai showed over 5,000 microplastic particles per litre, according to data published by the research team, said the media report.

Despite the claims of bottling companies that they enforce strict quality control, findings indicating the presence of a carcinogenic substance in the water raises concerns about the long-term implications for public health. The polypropylene used to make plastic bottle caps were the most common polymeric material (54%) found in the samples while nylon was the second most abundant (16%).

After accounting for possible laboratory contamination, 93% of bottled water showed some presence of microplastics. Researchers found an average of 10.4 microplastic particles per litre of bottled water using spectroscopic analysis. This is twice as much as what was found in a previous study on tap water by the same team.

The data indicated the contamination is at least partially coming from the packaging or bottling process itself.