Packaged drinking water not safe: Study

Deccan Chronicle.  | Kaniza Garari

Lifestyle, Health and Wellbeing

90% of the sampled bottles had tiny plastic debris.

About 249 bottles of plastic from nine countries had been picked up as samples.

HYDERABAD: Micro plastics have been found in packaged drinking water according to a study conducted by the State University of New York. According to the study, 90 per cent of the sampled bottles had very tiny pieces of plastic in the water.

About 249 bottles of plastic from nine countries had been picked up as samples for the study and the quality of the water was checked and analysed.

The dangerous findings of the study have prompted the World Health Organisation to review the quality of water in packaged plastic bottles worldwide. The best brands of packaged water were picked up from India, China, Indonesia, Kenya, Lebanon, Mexico, Thailand, and the United States. 

The study states that the researchers discovered 10 tiny plastic particles per litre of water in extremely small forms which made it difficult to identify. 

A dye called Nile Red was used which binds to free floating plastic and emits a fluorescent light.

The researchers state that the plastic debris could be coming from water sources, manufacturing or bottling processes or even from opening of bottle caps which are made of plastic chips that are often found to fall back into the water. 

Dr Naveen Polavarapu, senior gastroenterologist at Apollo Hospitals explained, “The microplastics are found to cause bloating, diarrhoea, thyroid problems and are particularly harmful for pregnant women who give birth to low-weight babies. 

Bottled water is found to have carbon residues and that is the reason some countries have completely banned it.”

Dr Vinay Gupta, gastroenterologist said, “It is found to affect the gastro-intestinal tract and affect the gut lining due to which there are problems in the absorption of food. How it impacts the organs and tissues has to be studied as it will give a wider and evidence-based assessment on the subject.”

The review by WHO is to widen the study and take up more projects so that rightful evidence can be gathered on bottled water. 

In 2016, 500 million bottled plastic water and beverages were sold worldwide which means that the consumption and dependency is quite high.