Plastic in tap water

Research has shown that, through what we eat and drink, we consume about 5 grams of plastic every week. That’s the equivalent of a credit card! The biggest source of this is drinking water. And that is not unlawful:  plastic particles are legally allowed in your drinking water. Is that safe? And what can you do to prevent plastic in your drinking water?

Plastic in drinking water

All over the world, plastic is found in tap water. But how does it get there? Through your shower drain, kitchen sink and washing machine you rinse away loads of microplastics. Via the sewer, this ends up in the wastewater treatment plant. The problem is that these treatment plants cannot remove the microplastics from the water. They can only remove dissolved substances, such as nitrogen and phosphates, from the water. This means that the tiny plastic particles end up in natural ecosystems.

And the drinking water companies use that natural surface water and groundwater to supply tap water to us again. Although these companies are able to filter out the plastic from the drinking water, they often do not do this, or not sufficiently. After all, it has been proven that microplastics are present in tap water worldwide.

Does bottled water contain plastic?

Yes, unfortunately it does. Maybe you think that by drinking bottled water you can avoid the microplastics that are in your tap water. Unfortunately, there is no escape from the plastic: plastic particles are also found in bottled water, even more so than in tap water. That’s because the plastic in the bottle itself also releases microplastics into the water. Every time you open the cap of the plastic bottle, the plastic wears a little and more plastic particles end up in the water you’re about to drink. Bottled water is therefore not the solution if you want to avoid microplastics in your water.

What is more, the bottled water industry only contributes to the plastic problem. Many plastic bottles end up in the environment as litter, where they slowly but steadily release microplastics. This pollutes every part of nature, including the surface water drinking water companies get their tap water from. If you drink bottled water because there are microplastics in tap water, not only will you still ingest microplastics, but you also indirectly contribute to an increase in the amount of microplastics in tap water.

Plastic in your water: is it dangerous?

It remains unclear what the exact consequences are of the presence of microplastics in the human body. According to the WHO, the concentration of plastic currently found in tap water is harmless to humans. Nevertheless, they advocate for more targeted research into the effects of plastic on human health. Moreover, microplastics are also ingested in other ways than just through water: honey, fish and beer are examples of foods which are known to contain a relatively large amount of microplastics. And did you know that a cup of tea contains much more microplastics than a glass of tap water? This is because tea bags release an incredible amount of tiny plastic particles.

Also, not all the microplastic you ingest leaves your body. About 10 percent remains somewhere in your body. Because humans are at the top of the food chain and because plastic is not biodegradable, microplastic particles can accumulate in our bodies. It is not known whether these microplastics are harmful to your health. But we don’t like the thought.

PFAS, PET, microplastics and nanoplastics

All these substances can be in your tap water. What is the difference between them?

  • Microplastics are simply very small pieces of plastic (less than 5 millimetres in size). Usually, you won’t be able to see these particles with the naked eye. Most sources that talk about plastic in drinking water mean microplastics. This includes all existing types of plastic.
  • Nanoplastics are plastic particles that are much smaller than microplastics: depending on the definition, they are smaller than 1 micrometre (1000 nanometres) or even smaller than 100 nanometres. 100 nanometres is one hundred thousand times smaller than 1 millimetre! The smallest of these types of nanoplastics can even penetrate cell walls. This poses a potential threat to public health.
  • PFAS stands for poly and perfluoroalkyl substances. These are chemicals that do not occur naturally in the environment: they are manufactured by humans and are poorly biodegradable. Thus, PFAS are a type of plastic. They often have toxic properties and therefore pose a risk to both people and the environment. The only way to reliably filter PFAS out of water is by means of reverse osmosis. Unfortunately, many drinking water companies do not use this filtering method.
  • PET is the abbreviation of polyethylene terephthalate, also a type of plastic. You probably know the name from the PET bottles, but PET can also be found in other food packaging and in kitchen utensils. This means that PET is everywhere in your kitchen and therefore also in your drinking water.

Filter plastic from your tap water with the Aquablu water purifiers

There is no way around it: microplastics are in your drinking water, whether you get it from the tap or pour it from a bottle. These tiny plastic particles are not properly filtered out of the water by water treatment companies. Did you know that your tap water can (lawfully!) contain many more harmful substances? Such as lead, bacteria and hormones. Not a pleasant thought, is it?

That’s why Aquablu has developed a simple way to take matters into your own hands using reverse osmosis technology. Our home water purifiers filter out all the substances that don’t belong in your drinking water, so you are left with only the good stuff. Enjoy with renewed confidence the refreshing water that flows from your tap. That’s really clean drinking water.