How harmful micro-plastics in drinking water?

Plastic is the miracle material of the past decades: cheap, malleable, soft or hard, transparent or milky, depending on the request. Since its invention in the fifty years, mankind has produced 8.3 billion tons of plastic, researchers estimate. The weight corresponds to approximately 41.500 Hamburger Elbphilharmonien. The volume is expected to be significantly larger, film is much lighter than brick.

Even though plastic is now fallen into disrepute: The Boom is unabated. More than half of the total global quantity has been produced since the beginning of the zero years. In the meantime, spread the plastic everywhere on the planet. In the deep sea, in clouds, in the human chair.

Also in drinking water samples, researchers have demonstrated the world of micro-plastic, both in tap water than in bottled water. The world health organization (WHO) has now analyzed for the first time, what are the health consequences of drinking plastic.

The result is a soothing, significantly, as many may have expected: There is no evidence that micro-plastic is harming the drinking water of health currently exist.

The Hook

Nevertheless, according to the WHO, no reason for relief. The main problem: The study location is very thin. For the investigation the organization has collected the results of 50 studies, only nine of them were targeted with micro plastic in the water.

Still, researchers are not even in agreement about what micro-plastic is at all. A uniform Definition is lacking. In most cases, all the particles are in this category, which are smaller than five millimeters count. Relevant for the Occurrence in drinking water, only the smallest particles, however, are. Their size is expressed in microns, i.e., thousandths of a millimeter.

It is unlikely that bits and pieces accumulate in the body, which are larger than 150 microns, said in the report of the WHO. In the case of smaller plastic particles that could be different, but so far, there are hardly any studies.

Similarly unclear is the situation with regard to possible consequences for the health. The existing studies were conducted primarily with rats and mice. Their results cannot be directly transferred to humans. In addition, the experimental animals often extremely high plastic were exposed to concentrations of people are difficult to reach.

“Based on the limited information available, micro-plastic seems to be in the drinking water at the current level no health risk,” says the WHO expert Maria Neira. Further investigations were urgently needed. From today’s point of view, other impurities in the water are, however, much more important than the plastic particles.

The problems were according to the WHO, work together to solve it. Cleaning facilities could not only fish 90 percent of the micro – plastics from drinking and waste water, but also pathogens. Worldwide, two billion people according to the UN, no access to clean drinking water.

The Situation in Germany

In German drinking water samples was demonstrated in an analysis from the year 2017, micro plastic, however, in very small quantities. An average of two and a half microscope swam small particles in a Liter of water from Hamburg and Dortmund. In samples from other countries according to the WHO, up to 100,000 particles have been discovered.

Generally speaking, the water had been detected in the German line is less microplastic than in mineral water, said Martin Wagner, of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in Trondheim. Sewage treatment plants removed the majority of the plastic particles. “The Problem is, however, that the micro plastic is then in the sludge and in the environment, when sewage sludge is used for fertilization in agriculture.”

The plastic cycle continues.