WHO: Plastic particles present in drinking water are not a health hazard

UNITED STATES, WASHINGTON (VOP TODAY NEWS) — The World Health Organization (WHO) has said the health risk from the presence of plastic particles in drinking water is minimal, but experts are cautiously looking into the future.

In a report published Thursday, WHO provided a synthesis of the latest knowledge on fine plastic particles in tap water, water bottles and the associated health impact.

“The key message is to reassure the world’s drinking water consumers that according to this assessment, we see little risk,” Bruce Gordon, WHO coordinator for water, sanitation, hygiene and health, told a news conference.

He explained that the analysis of health risks related to micro-plastic particles centered mainly on three aspects, namely the risk of ingestion of particles and chemical risks and then those related to the presence of lumpy bacteria.

WHO confirmed that data on the presence of microplastics in drinking water are still limited with a few reliable studies, stressing the difficulty of comparing the results of these studies that make analyzing the results a more complex task.

The WHO urged researchers to conduct a more in-depth assessment using standardized reference methods.

In particulars of more than 150 microns, fine plastic particles are not, in principle, absorbed by the human body. In addition, ingestion of smaller molecules is “limited”.

But she pointed out, in contrast, that the absorption of nanoparticles of plastic, especially nanoparticles, “is supposed to be higher, despite the limited data on this subject.”

“The fine plastic particles in drinking water do not appear to be hazardous to health, at least at current levels,” said Maria Nera, director of the WHO’s public health department.

The report warned that if plastics residues in nature continue at the current pace, fine plastic particles can carry a general risk to marine ecosystems within a century, which will undoubtedly affect human health.

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