Growing concern about microplastics in water bottles
The growing concern about microplastics in water bottles.
The presence of microplastics in water bottles is a major concern, as several studies have revealed. These microplastics come from the plastic packaging used to package water, and are raising concerns about their impact on our health.
According to a study by Agir pour l’Environnement, 78% of bottled water contains microplastics. In other words, 7 out of 9 bottles are contaminated by these plastic particles. These microparticles, invisible to the naked eye, are non-biodegradable and represent a potential danger to health and the environment (1).
Following an analysis of bottled water by the Labocea laboratory, the results revealed the presence of between 1 and 121 plastic microparticles per litre. Most of these microplastics come from the bottle, the cork or the bottling process. This quantity can be multiplied depending on the packaging, and when water bottles are exposed to heat and light, they can release even more microplastics.
What’s more, the low recycling rate for water bottles is leading to an accumulation of plastic waste in our oceans and on our land, causing worrying environmental pollution. It is important to note that plastic is not an inert, biodegradable substance. On the contrary, the microplastics that become detached contaminate our bodies and our environment. On average, we ingest around 5 grams of plastic a week, through the water we drink and the food we eat.
These findings corroborate the conclusions of several scientific studies and a World Health Organisation (WHO) report published in 2019, which already highlighted the importance of water contamination by microplastics (2).
Tap water quality called into question: Presence of pesticide metabolites and other contaminants
Tap water is often presented as a safer, controlled alternative. However, it is essential to recognise that it is not risk-free. A study by ANSES (Agence nationale de sécurité sanitaire de l’alimentation, de l’environnement et du travail) revealed the presence of a pesticide metabolite in tap water at a higher level than authorised (3). This raises concerns about the quality of the water we drink every day.
Metabolites are substances that result from the breakdown of an active substance, such as a pesticide. They are formed when the active substance breaks down in the environment, as a result of rain and run-off, and end up in groundwater and watercourses. This is how these metabolites reach our taps.
In addition to the drug residues and numerous pesticides, one pesticide in particular has attracted a great deal of attention. It has been detected many times, and has led to quality limits being exceeded in more than a third of samples: chlorothalonil R471811, a fungicide banned in France from 2020. A growing concern when it comes to tap water.
The idea that tap water is the only viable solution for reducing the use of plastic in water bottles is an illusion. Although tap water may appear to be a healthier and more environmentally-friendly alternative, it is important to recognise the potential risks it presents in terms of drug and pesticide residues.
It is vital to take steps to reduce exposure to microplastics and pesticides, given the concerns they raise. Filtering water is one way of reducing contamination and ensuring healthy water. This eliminates some of the microplastics and pesticides present and preserves our health and well-being.
Installing water coolers is the solution. It both reduces the use of plastic bottles and provides purified water thanks to advanced filtration systems.
In this context, the presence of microplastics in water bottles and harmful pesticides in tap water is raising concerns about their impact on health and the environment. It is crucial to raise awareness of this issue and take action.