Here’s a less than happy thought – we drink tap water on the assumption that it is absolutely safe. But a new study reveals the overwhelming prevalence of microplastics in our tap water.

Orb Media released Invisibles: The Plastic Inside Us, the first ever global scientific study on the presence of microplastics—extremely small pieces (less than 5 mm) of plastic debris resulting from the disposal and breakdown of consumer products and industrial waste—in tap water.

“Our exclusive research found 83 percent of the tap water samples from 14 countries are contaminated with microscopic plastic fibers,” said Molly Bingham, founder and CEO, Orb Media. “Scientists say they don’t really know how these microplastics reach our taps or what the health risks might be. But microplastics have been shown to absorb toxic chemicals from the marine environment, and then release them when consumed by fish and mammals. I am concerned by the implications of our research.”

Microscopic Plastic Fiber in Tap Water from U.S. Capitol Visitor Center Copyright Chris Tyree. (PRNewsfoto/Orb Media)

Microscopic Plastic Fiber in Tap Water from U.S. Capitol Visitor Center Copyright Chris Tyree. (PRNewsfoto/Orb Media)

Sources of Invisible Plastics

The sources range from synthetic fibers in the wash to car and truck dust that are washed into sewers and then into the sea. House paint is another major source of microplastic pollution. Microbeads of course are a big culprit while plastic waste like forks, straws, etc join the food chain.

The team behind the study screened 159 half liter drinking water samples from 14 countries: Cuba, Ecuador, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Lebanon, Slovakia, Switzerland, Uganda the U.K., and the U.S.

Orb journalists Chris Tyree and Dan Morrison explored how plastic has infiltrated communities around the globe and how those communities are responding to the threat of plastic waste; they also coordinated the sampling and testing of tap water from more than a dozen cities on five continents.

Microplastics- Image by 5Gyres, courtesy of Oregon State University Flcikr

Microplastics- Image by 5Gyres, courtesy of Oregon State University Flcikr

Pay attention to plastic

“Since the problem of plastic was created exclusively by human beings through our indifference, it can be solved by human beings by paying attention to it,” said Muhammad Yunus, 2006 Nobel Peace Prize laureate. “Now what we need is a determination to get it done before it gets us.”

The contamination of these global tap water samples distributes evenly across the globe. Drinking water from the Trump Grill in New York, the Sloane Club in London and the Environmental Protection Agency in Washington, D.C., all contained microplastics.  As did samples from a private apartment in Beirut, a household tap in Slovakia and a public spigot on the shores of Lake Victoria in Uganda.

Think about it – women, children, men, and babies are consuming plastic with every glass of water.

Source: Orbmedia

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