The typical person in North America ingests about 100,000 granules of microplastic every year, much of it leaching from the plastic bottles we chug our sodas, water, and energy drinks from, a study by biologists in British Columbia found (“Drinking the Bottle Along With the Water,” 10 Jul 2019).
Those bits lodge in the body and science has yet to determine what effects they have. Regardless, we’re probably better off without them: microplastics contain a range of industrial chemicals, some of which are known to be harmful.
Now scientists at Trinity College Dublin have found a fix: tap water.
According to their research, ordinary tap water contains a variety of minerals and trace elements that coat the insides of plastic vessels such bottles and kettles, laying a protective seal that, over time, builds up to keep plastic from degrading into the beverage.
Past investigations missed the mitigating effects of tap water because they used only purified water, which lacks the array of minerals that tap water contains, the Dublin team said.
TRENDPOST: Now that scientists have identified the composition of the protective coating, it can be manufactured and added to plastic bottles and food storage containers to keep microplastics out of the things we ingest.