Micro plastics in drinking water

Cathal Walsh
Environmental Blogger
Tuesday, 7th May 2019
Share this article
Plastic bottles in net

Plastic pollution has been a persistent problem since single use plastics became widespread in the 80’s and 90s’. One rather unexpected problem which has come from the use of plastics has been micro plastics making their way into the water supply.

Micro plastics make their way into the water supply through two ways. Firstly they make their way in as they are produced on purpose. Micro plastics and microbeads are used in a variety of skincare and makeup products, as well as toothpastes and many other products. They may also be created when plastic debris is broken down into increasing smaller pieces by either sunlight or erosion.

The more plastic products we are using and the more of these that end up coming into contact with the water, the more micro plastics we will have to deal with.

We do not have any definitive evidence that micro plastics found in water have any negative effect on human health. We do not even know what happens to these particles when  they enter the human gut. They may pass straight through without being absorbed or they may be absorbed somehow.  The smaller the particles are however, the more likely they are to be absorbed into the bloodstream, or even the cells.

While there no strong evidence yet to show micro plastics cause harm, they could be the cause of inflammation which is a natural response to foreign objects. It is also suspected that micro plastics may bind to toxic metals like mercury or organic compounds like pesticides. These compounds have been shown unequivocally to do damage to human health.

When you suspect that there are micro plastics in your water supply, there are several means by which you can treat the water.

The first is a Granular Activated Carbon (GAC) faucet filter. This filter fits to your faucet and filters contaminants out of water down to the size of 5 microns. This size would serve to remove most if not all of the micro plastics in the water.

One could also use Carbon Blocks faucet filters. This is a carbon block filter which filters down contaminants to the size of two microns.  This would effectively filter out all micro plastics. These filters are also quite cost effective and have the added bonus of being biodegradable.  For this reason these are often the most effective systems for household use.

The last option here is a reverse osmosis system. After passing through a reverse osmosis system water has reached an extreme level of purity. Reverse osmosis removes any impurities down to the size of 0.001 microns and as a result will take out any micro plastics. The main downside of these systems however is the fact that they are quite expensive and require regular maintenance

If you have any doubts regarding the quality of your water, head to https://www.h2olabcheck.com/category and purchase a test.

Share this article