A new study has emerged that raises concern about American tap water, and all tap water in the world. That's because the water coming out of faucets could potentially be causing organ damage and disease.
According to an investigation by Orb Media and the University of Minneapolis, 83 percent of the world's water contains microplastic fibers. In the United States, the fibers are present in 94.4 percent of its tap water. The country's water plastic contamination levels are the highest in the world. Lebanon, at 93.8 percent, and India, at 82.4 percent, were the next highest.
The microplastic fibers likely come from clothes and carpets, but a full list of sources is still unknown. They are extremely dangerous to human health for multiple reasons. First, the plastic can attract pathogenic bacteria near wastewater treatment plants, making them a potential source of disease. Additionally, nanoparticles of plastic can also be present with these microfibers. The tiny pieces could enter cells and organs and might even damage them.
Furthermore, it wasn't just tap water that these contaminants can be found in. Researchers found the same particles in bottled water samples from the United States, meaning that no matter what, we're likely drinking this plastic.
Currently, there doesn't appear to be a true solution to this. Researcher Sherri Mason, who supervised Orb's study, told DW that the microplastic fibers are a "new and troubling riddle for government, science, and industry to solve." For now, work needs to be done to replicate and confirm the results of Orb's study. Alongside that, sources of contamination and health impacts need to be further evaluated.
One thing's for sure, however: If Orb's study is confirmed by other multiple sources, however, the world will have a hazardous water problem that requires a resolution.