Low numbers of microplastics detected in drinking water from ground water sources.

Affiliation

Alfred-Wegener-Institut, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung, Biologische Anstalt Helgoland, P.O. Box 180, 27483 Helgoland, Germany. Electronic address: [Email]

Abstract

Microplastic particles have been detected in various natural habitats and the digestive tracts of several species. These particles have also been reported in commercially available seafood, salt or bottled water starting discussions on potential implications for human health. To be able to assess the related risks, exposure concentrations and pathways need to be known. Here, we analysed ground water and drinking water for the presence of microplastics (>20 μm) using FTIR imaging. Samples were taken at different positions within the drinking water supply chain. Determined concentrations ranged from 0 to 7 microplastics m-3 raw water or drinking water with an overall mean of 0.7 microplastics m-3. These particles were identified as polyethylene, polyamide, polyester, polyvinylchloride or epoxy resin and between 50 and 150 μm in size. Plastic is a resistant and durable material, still, the abrasion of plastic equipment used during water purification or transport is a likely explanation for the plastic particles detected in water samples.

Keywords

Drinking water purification,FTIR imaging,Ground water,Human health,