How much plastic are you eating and drinking?
Americans consume more bottled water than any other packaged beverage by volume. The desire of consumers for better health and pure water has turned bottled water into a marketing success story, with a million plastic bottles of water sold a minute worldwide.
Unfortunately, plastic that’s used for bottles, packaging and all kinds of other things is creeping into seas, landfills and water systems.
A recent study from the University of Victoria in Canada suggests that an average American could consume more than 70,000 tiny plastic particles per year, and even more for people who drink just bottled water.
But do you need to be worried?
“Health impacts of consumption of plastic on human health are unknown,” says Dr. Michael Otte, a family medicine provider at Aurora Health Center in Germantown, Wis. “It may depend on quantities digested and how long they linger in the body. Currently, we have no evidence to suggest that microplastics in drinking water is dangerous. But more research is still needed to determine any health risks.”
Since opinions vary, what are the best options for safe drinking water?
Drinking filtered tap water with a carbon block filter and storing your drinking water in stainless steel or other BPA-free water bottles is a good bet. Filtered water is an affordable and effective way to reduce your exposure to most microplastics and chemical contaminants. Stainless steel bottles are safe and environmentally friendly. This method can cut down on your exposure to pollutants until more is known about the risks of microplastics in both plastic water bottles and tap water.
About the Author
Bonnie Farber, health enews contributor, is a communications professional in the Public Affairs and Marketing Operations Department at Advocate Aurora Health. Her experience includes integrated product marketing in the biotechnology field, strategic communications at American Family Insurance and UW Credit Union, and marketing communications consulting for non-profit organizations in Wisconsin and Minnesota. She holds a degree in History from University of Wisconsin-Madison and enjoys playing music in a Brazilian percussion band and volunteering for a listener-sponsored radio station in her free time.