The Unseen Threat of Microplastics in Our Water

The Unseen Threat of Microplastics in Our Water

Microplastics are infiltrating our daily lives, and the extent of this issue is both alarming and concerning. Most notably, we are inadvertently consuming microplastics through our drinking water. In this blog post, we aim to shed light on this growing problem and its potential health risks. Towards the end, we'll introduce Ionza's solution to filter out these microplastics, offering you a safeguard against these particles and, to a large extent, nanoplastics.

The WHO's Concern: Plastic in Drinking Water

The World Health Organization (WHO) has initiated a review to assess the potential risks associated with plastic in drinking water. Recent analyses of popular bottled water brands have revealed that over 90% of them contain tiny plastic particles. Additionally, tap water worldwide is already significantly contaminated, with 90% of global tap water containing microplastics.

Microplastics in Unlikely Places: Rainwater

Researchers have observed a surprising phenomenon – the presence of microplastics in rainwater. In the Pyrenees Mountains in southern France, scientists recorded a daily deposition rate of 365 microplastic particles per square meter from the sky. What's astonishing is that there were no apparent local sources of these microplastics within a 60-mile radius, indicating that microplastics can travel through the air.

Understanding Microplastics and Nanoplastics

Microplastics are minuscule plastic fragments that contaminate the environment. They result from the degradation of larger plastic items exposed to natural elements, such as UV light and physical forces. These particles infiltrate ecosystems from various sources, including plastic bottles, bags, polystyrene, glitter, cosmetics, clothing, and industrial processes. Their size typically ranges from 5000 to 0.1 micrometers (µm), with nanoplastics measuring from 0.1 µm to 0.001 µm.

Microplastics and Health Risks

Microplastics possess an alarming characteristic – their ability to accumulate heavy metals like mercury and persistent organic pollutants (POPs), which are banned by the WHO due to their health hazards. These pollutants can disrupt hormonal functions, leading to various endocrine-related diseases and disorders, including reduced semen quality, genital malformations, adverse pregnancy outcomes, neurobehavioral disorders, and an increased incidence of endocrine-related cancers. Additionally, the global rise in obesity and type 2 diabetes is a growing concern.

Complex Nature of Plastic and Nanoparticles

Plastic is a diverse material that contains various additives, such as pigments, UV stabilizers, water repellents, flame retardants, bisphenol A (BPA), and phthalates. These additives can leach into the surroundings, making it challenging to determine their individual health effects. Furthermore, nanoplastics, which are even smaller than microplastics, present unique chemical and physical properties, increasing their reactivity. Lab studies have shown that nanoplastics can affect aquatic organisms' behavior and endocrine function.

Addressing the Issue with Ionza

Ionza offers a solution to combat the infiltration of microplastics in drinking water. Our ULTRA ADD-ON Filter is designed to remove micro and nanoplastic particles as small as 0.01 µm (10 nanometers) and also eliminates bacteria and cysts. You can easily incorporate this filter into your existing filter fountain or water ionizer. Additionally, we provide complete water filter systems like ULTRA X and ALKA ULTRA X, equipped with the ULTRA filter, suitable for both city and rural environments.

Take Action to Protect Your Health

The presence of microplastics in our environment is a growing concern, and it's essential to take proactive steps to safeguard your health. Ionza's ULTRA ADD-ON Filter and comprehensive water filter systems offer an effective defense against microplastics in your drinking water. For further assistance, please reach out to our team, and we'll be happy to guide you.

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Microplastics: A Growing Health Concern in Our Food Chain and Drinking Water

The presence of microplastics in our food chain and drinking water raises significant health concerns, as highlighted by the World Health Organization (WHO). Plastics have been found to disrupt hormone function, contributing to a rise in endocrine-related diseases and disorders. The consequences are far-reaching:

  • In many countries, a significant percentage of young men (up to 40%) experience low semen quality, impacting their ability to father children.
  • Incidences of genital malformations, such as non-descending testes (cryptorchidism) and penile malformations (hypospadias), have increased or remained alarmingly high among baby boys.
  • Adverse pregnancy outcomes, including preterm birth and low birth weight, are on the rise in many countries.
  • Neurobehavioral disorders linked to thyroid disruption affect a substantial number of children in specific regions, with an upward trend over recent decades.
  • Rates of endocrine-related cancers, including breast, endometrial, ovarian, prostate, testicular, and thyroid cancers, have been steadily increasing over the past 40–50 years.
  • An early onset of breast development in young girls, observed in all studied countries, poses a risk factor for breast cancer.
  • The global prevalence of obesity and type 2 diabetes has surged over the last four decades, with 1.5 billion adults worldwide now classified as overweight or obese, and the number of people with type 2 diabetes has risen from 153 million to 347 million between 1980 and 2008, according to WHO estimates.

The extent to which microplastics affect individual consumers remains challenging to ascertain, as these particles are ubiquitous, present in the air we breathe, the tap and bottled water we drink, the food we consume, and even the clothing we wear. Moreover, plastics come in various forms and incorporate a wide array of additives, including pigments, ultraviolet stabilizers, water repellents, flame retardants, and softeners like bisphenol A (BPA) and phthalates, which can leach into their surroundings.

Nanoparticles, a subset of microplastics, also demand attention. Although they are prevalent, the technology to detect them effectively is still in development. These nanoparticles exhibit distinct chemical and physical properties compared to their micro or larger counterparts. Notably, their higher surface-to-volume ratio makes them more chemically reactive. The potential risks they pose to human health and the environment may differ from those associated with microplastics, as suggested in a recent review authored by Roman Lehner from the University of Fribourg in Switzerland.

Laboratory studies have demonstrated adverse effects of nanoplastics on aquatic organisms. For instance, research has shown that polystyrene nanoplastics, when ingested by aquatic organisms, can permeate cell walls, altering behavior and disrupting endocrine function in fish and other marine species.

Furthermore, experiments have revealed that nanoplastics can cross cell walls in samples of human intestines, a fact that remains insufficiently researched, leaving many questions regarding their implications unanswered.

As we continue to grapple with the pervasive presence of microplastics and nanoplastics, it is essential to remain vigilant about their potential health impacts and to seek solutions that mitigate their entry into our food chain and drinking water.

 


Sources:
https://www.efsa.europa.eu/de/press/news/160623

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/2019/04/microplastics-pollution-falls-from-air-even-mountains/

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/mar/15/microplastics-found-in-more-than-90-of-bottled-water-study-says

https://www.who.int/ceh/publications/endocrine/en/

https://greentumble.com/serious-effects-of-plastic-pollution-on-human-health/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microplastics

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