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Most bottled water contaminated with microplastics, study using Norwich university’s method finds

PUBLISHED: 13:14 15 March 2018 | UPDATED: 13:14 15 March 2018

The University of East Anglia.

The University of East Anglia.

Microplastics are found in the majority of bottled water, a research method created by a Norwich university has found.

The University of East Anglia (UEA) team pioneered a screening method with the Centre for Environment, Fishers and Aquaculture Science (CEFAS) to identify microscopic plastic particles - as small as a few micrometres - in bottled water, by staining them with fluorescent dye.

It was used in an investigation by Orb Media, which found that most of the 259 bottles of water tested were contaminated.

Microplastics come from a variety of sources, including cosmetics and clothing, and do not break down for many years.

Lead researcher Dr Andrew Mayes, from UEA’s school of chemistry, said: “We are becoming increasingly aware of microplastics in the environment and their potentially harmful effects, but their prevalence in other areas has been much less studied. They have been reported in tap water, beer and many other foods, but I think that people will be surprised that almost all bottled water appears to be contaminated too.”


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