Plastic is one of the world’s leading contributors to environmental degradation, specifically in our precious bodies of water. Now as it turns out, that’s coming straight to our taps and into our drinking glass in the form of something called microplastics.

Small Plastic pellets on the finger.Micro plastic

So, what are microplastics?

At under 5 mm long and barely visible unless under a microscope, microplastics are small pieces of plastic that pollute the environment in many ways. But they can range in size, composition, and shape. Because plastic waste takes much too long to decompose, the plastic we throw out ends up in oceans, lakes, and rivers – and into our drinking water. According to Orb Media, 93% of bottled water and 83% of tap water is contaminated with microplastics, also known as nanoplastics in drinking water.

Where do microplastics come from?

Well…plastic. And it’s everywhere. Just try going about your day acutely aware of how much plastic is around you. Since the 1950s, plastic manufacturing has given us plastic straws, plastic soda rings, phone cases, the soles of our shoes, clothing…the list goes on.

Microplastics specifically derive from broken-down plastics that are released from our clothes, upholstery, and even toothpaste and moisturizers. Eventually, they end up in our oceans, break up into small particles and then end up in our water systems. The central sources of nearly invisible microplastics are:

  • Synthetic fibers in the wash
  • Tire dust
  • Paints
  • Secondary microplastics (forks, straws, takeout containers)
  • Synthetic fibers in the air (a result of body to clothing friction)
  • Microbeads

Are microplastics dangerous?

We now know the harmful effects of plastic on marine life and the environment, but now that microplastics have been found in tap and bottled drinking water, scientists are trying to discover if it has adverse effects on humans as well.

Not much is known about how nano-scale plastic particles might affect our health. Whether or not they harm out internal organs or just pass through unnoticed in our stools is still being a new question to explore. Currently, even the World Health Organization (WHO) concludes that there is not enough evidence to assert that microplastics in drinking water is risky for humans.

However, there is a plastic problem and it’s affecting the health of our ecosystem on a larger level. It’s crucial to eliminate signs of plastic as much as possible.

Garbage, plastic bags and bottles covering a city beach

How to remove microplastics from tap water: 4 Methods

Despite passing through treatment facilities and going through purification, microplastics can still weasel their way into our taps because of their inconspicuous sizing. So you may be wondering about the ways you can avoid ingesting them.

So, which method will it be?

The truth is, we’re still not certain about the effects of microplastics on humans long term. Enough is known about its harmful effects on our environment though. In terms of choosing the right microplastics filter – it’s really up to you – so long as you continue to be conscientious of the role our plastic waste has on our precious ecosystems.

The more informed we all are, the greater the possibility of macro changes being implemented in addition to our individual actions.