Health

Drinking Water from Plastic Bottles May Lead to Harmful Microplastic Particle Exposure

Drinking water from disposable plastic bottles may be passing hundreds of thousands of potentially harmful tiny plastic particles into our bodies, a new study finds.

Research published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that a liter of water in a plastic bottle contained an average of about 240,000 detectable plastic fragments — 10 to 100 times more than previous estimates. A liter is a little more than 32 ounces, or one quart.

“The existence of microplastics [particles measuring 1 micrometer, or 0.001 millimeter, to 5 millimeters in length] and possibly even nanoplastics [less than 1 micrometer] has recently raised health concerns,” wrote Beizhan Yan, PhD, an environmental chemist at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory in Pallisades, New York, and his coauthors.

For context, a human hair is about 70 micrometers across.

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