Microplastics in Your Water? No Reason to Worry, YET

There have been multiple reports of how microplastics have made their way into your tap water and drinking water and not just oceans and rivers. A study in 2017 by Orb Media said that 83 percent of the the tap water samples collected from across the world were found to be contaminated with microplastics. India was third on the list, with 82.4 percent of the tap water being contaminated.

But a new World Health Organisation report on the impact the tiny plastic pollutants have on human health, has said there isn’t enough reason yet to worry.

Microplastics are defined as less than five millimetres long.

This UN report quotes Dr Maria Neira, WHO’s Director, Department of Public Health, as saying, “Based on the limited information we have, microplastics in drinking water don’t appear to pose a health risk at current levels. But we need to find out more. We urgently need to know more about the health impact of microplastics because they are everywhere - including in our drinking-water.”

The report further says, microplastics larger than 150 micrometres (a micrometre is a millionth of a metre) are unlikely to be absorbed in the human body. And the uptake of smaller particles will be limited.

They do continue to exercise caution, saying it’s an emerging area of research and the data is extremely limited.

What are Microplastics?

Another report by Orb Media had found that bottled water from leading brands, including from India, have been found to be 90 percent contaminated by microplastics, posing potential harm to humans.

The WHO findings are part of the larger probe ordered by the organisation after the threat of microplastics was first flagged.

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