There's been a move in recent years in cities across the country to ban plastic bags, but could plastic water bottles be next? New research published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology says humans ingest tens of thousands of microplastic particles every year. These particles come from many sources, including the air we breathe, food packaging and plastic containers. And especially, that ever-popular bottled water. The study says those who drink bottled water can double the amount of microplastic particles they ingest per year.
The question the research fails to answer is what health effect, if any, all of those microplastic particles have on people. "Additional studies need to be done, but we know there is a significant amount of particles that are shed in certain plastics," says Dr. Alfred Johnson, an internal medicine specialist. "They really don't know the full health effects of it...there are pretty big numbers of particles, but they are really small particles, and we don't know where they go exactly and what they're doing."
Nevertheless, for those who may be concerned about ingesting too much plastic, Dr. Johnson recommends certain precautions. "Use glass bottled water, glass food containers, and then use stainless steel to cook in, which gives you the safest cooking mechanism...either that, or the glass cookware," he tells KTRH.
As for those who want to drop bottled water and switch to tap water, there are also precautions to take. "If you're drinking tap water, make sure you have a good filtration system that helps get the different chemicals out of the water," says Dr. Johnson. "We need to be cautious about jumping to (conclusions), but people need to be aware and make healthy choices about the products they're using."