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Microplastics: Low risk in drinking water, says WHO


The study confirms that “microplastics are ubiquitous in the environment and have been detected in a broad range of concentrations in marine water, waste water, fresh water, food, air and drinking water, both bottled and tap water. Based on the limited evidence available, chemicals and biofilms associated with microplastics in drinking-water pose a low concern for human health. Although there is insufficient information to draw firm conclusions on the toxicity related to the physical hazard of plastic particles, particularly for the nano sized particles, no reliable information suggests it is a concern”.

The WHO recommends that:


1. “Water suppliers and regulators continue to prioritize removing microbial pathogens and chemicals from drinking-water that are known as significant risks to human health. As part of water safety planning, water suppliers should ensure that control measures are effective, including optimizing water treatment processes for particle removal and microbial safety, which will incidentally improve the removal of microplastic particles. Routine monitoring of microplastics in drinking-water is not necessary at this time.


2. To better assess the human health risks and inform management actions, researchers should undertake targeted, well-designed and quality-controlled investigative studies to better understand the occurrence of microplastics in the water cycle and in drinking-water throughout the water supply chain, the sources of microplastic pollution and the uptake, fate and health effects of microplastics under relevant exposure scenarios.


3. Irrespective of any human health risks posed by exposure to microplastics in drinking-water, measures should be taken by policy makers and the public to better manage plastics and reduce the use of plastics where possible, to minimize plastics released into the environment because these actions can confer other benefits to the environment and human well-being”.

You can find the full WHO report here: https://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/326499/9789241516198-eng.pdf?ua=1

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