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Microplastics found in some brands of Canadian bottled water


Cheryl Santa Maria
Digital Reporter

Friday, April 6, 2018, 2:19 PM - Last month, a study found microplastics can be found in 93 per cent of bottled water, findings that were echoed in a recent CBC report focusing on Canadian products.

It's not known if consuming microplastics poses a health risk.

Non-profit journalism organization Orb Media conducted the initial report, testing 259 bottles of water purchased in 9 countries. Canada was not included.

The brands tested were products of major North American and Asian brands, including Nestle Pure Life, San Pellegrino and Evian. Researchers found some form of microplastic, including polypropylene, polystyrene, nylon and polyethylene terephthalate (PET) in 93 per cent of the bottles tested.

In a follow-up study, CBC Marketplace worked with researchers at McGill University to test samples of water from Aquafina, Dasani, Eska, Naya and Nestle Pure Life brands.

CBC cites Euromonitor International, which estimates these brands sold a combined total of more than $1 billion in water products in Canada last year.

Their findings argue that microplastics were found in each brand, including in glasses of Eska water, but in lower levels than in the plastic products.

WHAT ARE MICROPLASTICS?

Plastics that are less than five millimeters in length are called "microplastics."

Not much is known about their long-term environmental impact, but these tiny plastic particles can evade water filtration systems and end up in our lakes, posing a threat to aquatic life.

VIDEO: MANTA RAY SWIMS THROUGH PLASTIC IN SEARCH OF FOOD


PLASTIC IN THE OCEAN

A study published in December 2014 by U.S. and U.K. researchers suggested there are more than 5 trillion pieces of plastic weighing nearly 269,000 tonnes currently swirling in the world's oceans.

The largest source of plastic was from discarded fishing nets, but a heavy presence of plastic bags, toys and bottles was discovered as well.

Smaller pieces appear to be getting eaten by fish and travelling up the food chain.

The study only measured plastic found floating at the top of the ocean, and not the trash littering the seabed.

PLASTIC IN THE ICE

Plastic isn't just swirling in the water: A study published in May 2014 a team of researchers discovered there could be trillions of pieces of microplastics lurking in Arctic ice.

As the ice melts due to rising global temperatures, it could flood the ecosystem with an unprecedented amount debris.

"Arctic sea ice from remote locations contains concentrations of microplastics at least two orders of magnitude greater than those that have been previously reported in highly contaminated surface waters," the  study's author's write.

"Our findings indicate that  microplastics have accumulated far from population centers and that polar sea ice represents a major historic global sink of man-made particulates."

The research team believes that Arctic ice is trapping floating microplastics as it freezes. By citing current melting trends, the team estimates that 1 trillion pieces of plastic could be released in the next decade.

VIDEO: REDUCING YOUR PLASTIC DEPENDENCE


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