Nanoplastiques dans de l'eau en bouteille


bottled water massively polluted

According to a study published on January 8, 2023, bottled water would contain very high levels of plastic fragments, ranging from 110,000 to 400,000 per liter of water, which is 10 to 100 times higher than estimated. But what consequences could these staggering figures have on our health?

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A study conducted on three brands of mineral water.
What are nanoplastics? 
What impacts on health and the environment?
What can we do to limit this issue?

A study conducted on three major brands of mineral water

It has already been demonstrated that plastic water bottles contain microplastics and nanoplastics. However, scientists have undertaken a new study aimed at quantifying more precisely the presence of nanoplastics in water bottles. They used innovative laser-based technology.

According to the findings of thestudy published in the journal Pnas (« Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences »), researchers from Columbia University examined three popular brands of bottled water sold in the United States. For every liter tested, they detected between 110,000 and 370,000 particles, with 90% being nanoplastics (diameter less than 1 micrometer), and the remaining 10% being microplastics (diameter between 1 micrometer and 5 millimeters).

Not surprisingly, polyethylene terephthalate or PET, the material used in the manufacturing of many water bottles, was most frequently identified. Other plastics such as polyamide, polystyrene, polyvinyl chloride, and polymethyl methacrylate, used in various industries, were also present.

💡 Good to know: It is interesting to note that the study revealed that the seven types of plastics investigated accounted for only 10% of the nanoparticles detected in bottled water. The nature of the remaining 90% remains unknown to scientists to date. If they are other plastic nanoparticles, their potential number could reach tens of millions per liter of water.

These results have raised concerns among scientists as the concentration of plastic particles is estimated to be 10 to 100 times higher than previous estimates. Nanoparticles are suspected to be particularly toxic due to their size, which makes them more likely to penetrate the body’s barriers.

What are nanoplastics?

Nanoplastics are extremely small plastic particles, typically defined as having a size smaller than 100 nanometers (nm) or 1 micrometer (1µm). They originate from the fragmentation and degradation of larger plastics, known as microplastics, which range in size from 1 micrometer to 5 millimeters.

The formation of nanoplastics can result from various processes, including exposure to sunlight, the action of saltwater, wave movements, and other environmental factors that promote the degradation of plastics. Additionally, it is important to note that nanoplastics can also be intentionally created for specific purposes, including in certain industrial applications.

Nanoplastiques : what impacts on health and the environment?

These tiny plastic particles raise growing concerns due to their omnipresence in the environment, their potential impact on human health and the aquatic ecosystem, as well as their ability to easily traverse biological barriers due to their minute size.

👉 Impacts of nanoplastics on health

This study raises serious concerns about its implications for human health, drawing increased attention to the potential health risks associated with bottled water consumption. The consequences of these high levels of plastic particles on health can be manifold. Some possible impacts include:

  • Digestive system risks: Plastic particles could potentially be ingested by individuals when consuming contaminated water, posing risks to the digestive system.
  • Toxicity of cheminal substances:Plastic particles can absorb harmful chemicals present in the environment. When ingested, these chemical substances could be released into the body, thereby increasing toxicity risks.
  • Effects on the immune system: Prolonged exposure to high levels of plastic particles could potentially compromise the immune system, making individuals more susceptible to diseases and infections.
  • Impacts on reproductive health: Some chemical compounds present in plastics are known to have endocrine-disrupting effects, which could affect reproductive health.
  • Developmental risks: Especially in children, exposure to high levels of plastic could have consequences for physical and cognitive development.

*It is important to note that research on the long-term effects of ingesting plastic particles in water is still ongoing, and a complete understanding of health risks requires further studies. However, these results underscore the importance of addressing the issue of plastic pollution and implementing measures to reduce the presence of these particles in our environment and water supply.

👉 Impacts of nanoplastics on the environment

In addition to concerns for human health, nanoplastics also pose a serious threat to the environment. Due to their nanoscopic size, they are extremely difficult to filter and can contaminate aquatic ecosystems. Marine organisms, by ingesting these particles, face serious harm, disrupting food chains and leading to widespread consequences.

What can we do to limit this issue?

The global production of plastic is approaching 400 million tons per year. “Over 30 million tons are dumped into water or on land each year, and many products made from plastic, including synthetic textiles, release particles during their use,” the study reminds.

✅ Reduce the plastic use: Opt for reusable stainless steel or glass bottles instead of single-use plastic bottles. ⚠️Do not leave your plastic bottle in the sun. Do not reuse your plastic bottle.

✅ Filter your water: Use water filtration systems (such as a filtering pitcher) at home to reduce the presence of plastic particles, including nanoplastics, in your drinking water.

✅ Prefer tap water: Choose tap water whenever possible. Municipal water treatment systems are often better equipped to filter contaminants, including nanoplastics, than some bottled waters. To transport your tap water, prefer stainless steel bottles or glass bottles.

✅ Promote awareness: Share this information and raise awareness about the importance of reducing plastic consumption to protect our health and the environment. 

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