A new study has found that more than 90% of bottled water produced by popular brands contains tiny pieces of plastic waste, invisible to the human eye, known as microplastics.
Comissioned by non-profit organisation Orb Media, scientists from the State University of New York looked at 259 bottles of water produced by 11 brands.
The researchers took bottles from 11 locations in nine countries.
Of the bottles tested, just 17 contained no plastic. They discovered an average of 325 plastic particles per litre of water.
One bottle of Nestlé Pure Life contained 10,400 particles per litre, the study reported.
San Pellegrino was the cleanest option, with the highest number of particles recorded at 74.
Many view bottled water as safer or cleaner than drinking tap water. However, the study found that the concentration of plastic in bottled water was twice as high as in tap water.
The researchers conclude that those drinking bottled water regularly likely consume tens of thousands of microplastic particles each year. The effect that this might have on human health is unclear.
Two companies that the researchers contacted confirmed that microplastics find their way into bottled water. However, they rejected the amounts suggested by Orb’s study.