Microplastics in drinking water: An underestimated danger and what you can do about it

In our modern world, microplastics represent an increasingly worrying environmental burden. Since its invention in the 1950s, humanity has grown an estimated 9 billion. Tons of plastic produced. Only very few people are already sufficiently informed about the effects of this.

The presence of microplastics in drinking water is now particularly alarming. Reason enough to look at how high the level of microplastics in water really is and why you need to do something to protect your health.

Where does microplastic occur?

Microplastics are tiny plastic particles that are smaller than five millimeters. Due to their size, they have a direct impact on our health and the environment because they can spread through our blood and accumulate in all parts of the human body.

Microplastics are created by the breakdown of larger plastic pieces or are processed directly as the smallest particles in products such as cosmetics.

To a greater extent, however, they arise from tire abrasion from our cars and brakes, as well as abrasion from bitumen, a tar-like mass that occurs in road asphalt.

Microplastics are also found in textiles made from plastic fibers, such as sportswear, and thus enter the water cycle when laundry is washed.

Well-known washing machine manufacturers have already recognized the problem and are working on a solution. Unfortunately, the results to date are not satisfactory (see the current press article on this).

Why is this a problem?

These are the smallest plastic particles not biodegradable and can therefore continue to accumulate in the environment and also in the human body. Due to their small size, they are also consumed by marine animals and thus find their way back into our food chain.

A research team from the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam has now succeeded in detecting microplastics in human blood. Blood samples from 22 donors were analyzed. In 17 Years ago she found microplastics. Residues of PET plastics, such as those commonly used in beverage bottles, were also detected in 11 blood samples.

At approx. In a third of the blood samples, the researchers found polystyrene, a plastic that is also used in yogurt cups, among other things. The researchers were also able to find polyethylene, which is used in plastic bags and garbage bags, in the blood. The study can here in the original can be read.

The effects on the human body have not yet been sufficiently investigated. However, the team at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is concerned that microplastics in the bloodstream are anything but healthy.

Microplastics settle in the organs and can cause damage.

“There are enough reasons to be concerned,” said Vethaak to the British Guardian . “The particles are there and are transported through the body.” (Those: Geo )

Microplastics in our drinking water: These are the facts

Studies show that microplastics are present in many water sources worldwide, including rivers, lakes and even drinking water.

Although many modern societies are aware of the burden of plastic, there are hardly any comprehensive strategies to avoid it.

The BUND's recommendation to dispose of microplastics in residual waste shows how harmful plastic is, "so that the microplastics contained can no longer get into the environment."

Scientists have already detected microplastics in sea and drinking water and in animals. The small plastic particles have also been found in snow. (Source: Statista )

How do microplastics get into our drinking water?

Microplastics can enter the water in various ways, such as abrasion from car tires, wastewater from households and industries, and the breakdown of larger pieces of plastic in nature.

Mechanical friction, for example when plastic bags and bottles float in lakes and rivers or when abrasion from tires sinks into the ground or is washed into the sewage system the next time it rains, forces local waterworks to deal with these substances.

When consuming water from plastic bottles, the problem lies in the means of transport, i.e. the drinking bottle itself.

The sobering result overall: Researchers around the world have detected microplastics in drinking water samples, both in tap water and in bottled mineral water.

Long-term consequences of consuming microplastics

The long-term effects are not yet fully understood, but there are fears that it could lead to chronic health problems.

There are and remain foreign substances in the body that can accumulate in organs and vessels.

One Study commissioned by WWF also found that people worldwide ingest an average of five grams of microplastics per week. This is roughly equivalent to a shortened credit card.

This simply cannot be healthy in the long term.

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