According to the New York University study and numerous other pieces of research, microplastics gets into bottled water via the bottle, the water itself and surprisingly, via the bottle cap. The most common microplastic found in bottled water was polypropylene (54%), the same type of plastic used to make bottle caps.
In the study, 259 bottles were tested and only 17 were free of plastics. For the rest, the average number of microplastics in a bottle was 325 per litre, with one tested bottle carrying more than 10,000 pieces of plastic.
Water bottled in glass was compared to that packaged in plastic and findings were 204 vs. 1410 pieces of plastic per litre, respectively. The pieces coming from the cap and water.
In one bottle of Nestlé Pure Life, concentrations were as high as 10,000 plastic pieces per litre of water. Many bottled water brands are simply filtered municipal tap water, so the study took sample lots from a number of locations to increase the likelihood of diverse bottling sources. The Nestlé Pure Life samples came from Amazon; Beirut, Lebanon; and Bangkok, Thailand. Plastics densities in this brand were consistently higher, but the plastics count by bottle varied enormously, even in the same case.
(Notations): Microplastic density averaged across individual bottles and lots by brand. Blue bars are densities for “NR + FTIR confirmed particles” (>100 um); Orange bars are for “NR tagged particles” (6.5–100 um). Error bars are one standard deviation. Percentages are for the contribution to the total for “NR tagged particles” (6.5–100 um); Contribution of larger particles can be inferred.
Just don’t do it. Don’t buy bottled water, especially in plastic packaging of any kind, including plastic lined paper bottles. Get a reusable bottle and #gotap!
Bottled water was one of the greatest marketing triumphs of the 20th century. Selling seemingly sane people for 1000 times the price, the same thing in a bottle, as better (now proven to be worse) than what they can easily get from a tap.