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Plastic particles in drinking water pose a 'low' risk, says WHO

The majority of plastic particles in water are larger than 150 micrometers in diameter and are excreted from the body, said WHO

Stephanie Nebehay | Reuters  |  Geneva 

Photo: Shutterstock
Photo: Shutterstock

Microplastics contained in drinking water pose a “low” risk to human health at current levels, but more research is needed to reassure consumers, the (WHO) has said.

Studies over the past year on plastic particles detected in tap and have sparked public concerns but the limited data appears reassuring, the UN agency said its first report on potential health risks associated with ingestion.

Microplastics enter drinking water sources mainly through run-off and wastewater effluent, the said. Evidence shows that microplastics found in some seem to be at least partly due to the bottling process and/or packaging such as plastic caps, it said.

“The headline message is to reassure drinking water consumers around the world, that based on this assessment, our assessment of the risk is that it is low,” Bruce Gordon of the WHO’s department of public health, environmental and social determinants of health, told a briefing.

The did not recommended routine monitoring for microplastics in drinking water. But research should focus on issues including what happens to chemical additives in the particles once they enter the gastrointestinal tract, it said.

The majority of plastic particles in water are larger than 150 micrometers in diameter and are excreted from the body, said .

First Published: Sat, August 24 2019. 23:54 IST