Microplastics in tap water: A serious health concern
Microplastics are tiny pieces of plastic, less than 5 millimeters in size. These tiny pieces come in a variety of sources (clothes, plastic bags, etc.) – but the largest source of microplastics is actually car tires as they wear on the roads. They are ubiquitous in the environment, and can be found in everything from soil and water to air and food. Microplastics can also be found in tap water, even in developed countries with advanced water treatment systems. In fact studies have shown that the amount of microplastic pollution dies not really vary from continent to continent!
The presence of these microplastics in tap water is a very serious concern for human health. Microplastics can be ingested through drinking water, food, and inhalation. Once inside the body, microplastics can accumulate in organs and tissues, and can lead to a number of health problems. They’ve been linked to Inflammation, oxidative stress, cell damage, cancer and endocrine disruption (this one on particular worries me as a dad with small children!)
Here are some studies for further reading that back this up:
- A 2022 study published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology found that microplastics can cause inflammation in the gut.
- A 2021 study published in the journal Nature Nanotechnology found that microplastics can induce oxidative stress in cells, which can lead to cell damage and cancer.
- A 2020 study published in the journal Environmental Pollution found that microplastics can disrupt the endocrine system, which can lead to a variety of health problems, including infertility, thyroid problems, and cancer.
Mitigating the risks of microplastic exposure
One of the best ways to mitigate the risks of microplastic exposure is to install a reverse osmosis (RO) system in your home. RO systems use a semipermeable membrane to filter out contaminants from water, including microplastics.
Studies have shown that RO systems are extremely effective the most effective) at removing microplastics from water. A 2019 study published in the journal Environmental Science & Pollution Research found that an RO system can remove up to 99% of microplastics from tap water.
From my viewpoint, of ALL the water treatment options out there, the “point-of-use” under sink reverse osmosis is a no brainer. Why
Why? – well because of everything I just wrote about in this post – but also because it’s SUPER cost effective, easy to use, easy to maintain, and covers 98% of the water that we typically ingest in the home.
So in summary:
- Microplastics in tap water are a serious health concern.
- There is growing evidence that microplastics can cause a variety of health problems, including inflammation, oxidative stress, cell damage, endocrine disruption, and cancer.
- Installing a reverse osmosis (RO) system is a good way to mitigate the risks of microplastic exposure. RO systems are very effective at removing microplastics from water, as well as other harmful contaminants.
- Chicago Water Pros can help you select the best equipment, install it and make sure it’s working properly year after year!