Average Bottle Of Water Contains Cancer-causing Nanoplastic Pieces – Study Says

Average Bottle Of Water Contains Cancer-causing Nanoplastic Pieces – Researchers from Columbia and Rutgers universities found an average liter of bottled water contains around 240,000 detectable plastic fragments, with about 90% of the particles being nanoplastics and the rest being microplastics. This was revealed in a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. These particles are microscopic, often invisible to the naked eye, and can potentially contain harmful chemicals. The study was limited, analyzing only five samples each from three common brands. More research is needed to confirm these findings and assess the full scope of the issue.

Nanoplastics are particles less than 1 micrometer in size, and the study found that bottled water contains 10 to 100 times more plastic fragments than previously estimated. While the potential health risks of nanoplastics remain unclear, researchers have indicated that nanoplastics contain more than 100 cancer-causing chemicals. The presence of nanoplastics in bottled water has raised concerns, as these particles can be internalized into cells and may have the potential to cause DNA damage and change metabolism or cell function.

However, the International Bottled Water Association has emphasized that there is currently a lack of scientific consensus on the potential health effects of consuming nanoplastics.

What Are Nanoplastics?

Nanoplastics are tiny particles of plastic that are less than 1 micron in size, which is about 1,000 times smaller than the width of a human hair. They’re practically invisible to the naked eye and can be found in a variety of places, including oceans, rivers, lakes, soil, and even the air. This is because larger plastic items break down over time due to sunlight, weathering, and biological processes, eventually forming these microscopic particles. Nanoplastics can be intentionally added to certain products, such as cosmetics, sunscreens, and clothing, for various purposes like providing thickening or exfoliating properties. Studies have shown the presence of nanoplastics in bottled water, seafood, and other food items. This can happen through contamination during packaging, processing, or even from the environment itself.

Due to their size, nanoplastics can easily enter our bodies through inhalation, ingestion, or even skin contact. They can also potentially bypass biological barriers and reach organs like the lungs, brain, and placenta. The long-term health effects of nanoplastics are still largely unknown, but research suggests they could pose various risks, including inflammation, cell damage, and even cancer. However, more research is needed to confirm these potential risks. The presence of nanoplastics in the environment can harm ecosystems and marine life. They can be ingested by animals, potentially disrupting their feeding habits and causing internal damage.

Are Nanoplastics Present In the Water We Drink?

Yes, nanoplastics are unfortunately present in the water we drink, from bottled water to tap water. A recent study by researchers from Columbia and Rutgers universities found an average of 240,000 nanoplastic particles per liter in bottled water samples. These particles are microscopic, often invisible to the naked eye, and can potentially contain harmful chemicals. The study was limited, analyzing only five samples each from three common brands. More research is needed to confirm these findings and assess the full scope of the issue.

While less studied than bottled water, nanoplastics have also been found in tap water. A study detected microplastics in 93% of 576 tap water samples from around the world. It is important to note that the levels of nanoplastics in tap water can vary depending on the source of the water and the treatment process. Some treatment processes may be more effective than others at removing microplastics.

How Can Invisible Nanoplastics Invade Our Bodies?

Nanoplastics can invade our bodies through various potential exposure routes, such as oral, inhaled, or dermal exposure. They are difficult to detect compared to microplastics and can cross biological barriers, potentially being transferred to offspring and accumulating in living organisms. Nanoplastics have been found in the tissues of mammals, including humans, and can be internalized into cells, potentially causing DNA damage and altering cell function. The exact impact on human organs and health is still under investigation, and the long-term biological effects of nanoplastics, such as crossing biological barriers and generation-crossing, are areas of ongoing research,

What are the health risks associated with drinking water containing nanoplastics.

Drinking water containing nanoplastics can pose several health risks, although the exact impact is still not fully understood. Some potential health risks associated with

consuming water containing nanoplastics include: Oxidative stress, inflammation, immune dysfunction, and altered biochemical and energy metabolism.

Interaction with proteins, lipids, carbohydrates, nucleic acids, ions, and water in the human body. Internalization into cells and potential DNA damage. Influence on the gut microbiota and contribution to the development of allergic and environmental pollutants. Potential involvement in the development of heart disease, as nanoplastics can accumulate in the heart. Infants and young children may face the greatest risks, as their developing brains and bodies are often more vulnerable to impacts from toxic exposures.

What Can We Do In Response To This Information?

Reduce bottled water consumption: Opt for reusable water bottles and filters whenever possible. This minimizes plastic waste and exposure to potential contaminants.

Support sustainable water sources: Invest in water conservation measures and advocate for policies that protect clean water sources.

Demand transparency from bottled water companies: Encourage manufacturers to disclose the source of their water and the measures they take to ensure its quality.

Stay informed: Continue to follow research on nanoplastics and their potential health and environmental impacts.

Remember, this is a developing issue, and further research is necessary to fully understand the implications. However, the findings of this study highlight the importance of taking steps towards a more sustainable and healthy future.

Source: https://www.pnas.org/doi/10.1073/pnas.2300582121

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