“A recent study by scientists at the State University of New York tested over 250 bottles of mineral water from 11 different brands,” says Roger Green, whose company ACE Recycling recycles plastic from offices. “The study found all the mineral water bottles were contaminated by potential harmful particles of microplastic. So, the question is: are plastic bottles safe and is bottled mineral water no longer safe to drink?”
What are microplastics?
Microplastics are tiny particles of plastic that result from the degradation of larger plastic products. These microplastics may come from many different products, such as cosmetics, packaging and clothing.
The recent study conducted was only focused on the safety of the water and the bottles regarding the contamination of microplastics.
While the study said the microplastics are ‘potentially harmful’, the World Health Organisation is now focusing studies on whether consuming microplastics actually has a detrimental effect on our health.
The UK Food Standards Agency has also released a statement to try and reassure customers that there is currently no information that would suggest that bottled water could harm customers. However, it is essential to bear in mind that not enough research has been completed to verify the safety.
As well as this, microplastics are not the only concern for the safety of bottled water.
Is bottled water clean?
Many brands of bottled water do not source directly from a spring. Around 25% of bottled water is tap water that has been filtered by ultraviolet light. This water is then passed on to the consumer at a premium price. Studies into the safety of bottled water have shown that some plastic water bottles contain mould, microbes, phthalates and even E. Coli.
With this in mind, your tap water may be safer and kinder on your body than bottled water.
What about BPA-free bottles?
Many people steer away from plastic bottles that contain Bisphenol A (BPA) as studies have shown that the toxin can leach into our water and can affect and disrupt hormones.
Due to these fears, many manufacturers now opt for BHPF as an alternative to BPA. Fluorene-9-bisphenol (BHPF) is a BPA substitute which has been introduced for the production of so-called ‘BPA-free’ plastics. However, researchers at Peking University in Beijing has also shown that BHPF can also affect the body’s oestrogen receptors.
How to reduce the risk
It is much safer, and kinder to the environment to invest in a refillable water bottle. Stainless steel is considered the most reliable and safest material for containers, and make the most of refill stations across shops, cafes and workplaces. Workplaces can make it easier for staff by having water stations available which can also help to cut the amount of waste your business creates too.
If you want to reduce the plastic waste from your workplace and encourage staff to be more environmentally conscious, then get in touch with ACE Recycling at firstname.lastname@example.org to request a a no-obligation review of your office recycling so that you can create a recycling strategy your whole team can get behind.