As the health and wellness trend progresses in the U.S., more and more people are eliminating sugar-laden sodas and juices for plain old water, which offers a plethora of benefits from better digestion to brighter skin. However, just when you think water is the best thing ever and you’ve worked your way up to your recommended ounces per day, this news breaks.
As reported on by The Guardian, scientists leading an investigation for a company called Orb Media were tasked with testing and analyzing tap water samples from more than a dozen countries, and the results they discovered are shocking: More than 83 percent of the samples were contaminated with plastic fibers.
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Even more shocking: The good ol’ USA had the highest contamination rate at 94 percent! In the study, that number ranked higher than both India and Lebanon. And you’re probably thinking, the samples must have been taken from abandoned towns or downtrodden areas, but in fact, they included locations like the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s headquarters and Trump Tower in New York.
European nations seem to be in better shape, but only slightly—the UK, France and Germany had the lowest contamination rate at 72 percent. Clearly, this is a global problem that needs more attention, and the health risks are still unknown.
According to scientists, microplastics are known to contain and absorb toxic chemicals and research on wild animals shows they are released in the body. “We have enough data from looking at wildlife, and the impacts that it’s having on wildlife, to be concerned,” said Dr Sherri Mason, a microplastic expert at the State University of New York in Fredonia, who supervised the analyses for Orb. “If it’s impacting [wildlife], then how do we think that it’s not going to somehow impact us?”
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Testing and research is being done all over the world to determine the sources of this growing concern, and experts say current standard water treatment systems don’t properly filter out the microplastics. Additionally, Orb Media’s report shows they were also found in a few samples of commercial bottled water they tested in the U.S., so tap water isn’t the only culprit.
Therefore, there’s currently no way to avoid consuming the potentially toxic material, but being informed and staying abreast of the efforts to solve this issue are key. And, remember that water still remains the best option when choosing between that and Coca-Cola, or any other sugary beverage.