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‘Filtered Danger’: New Study from Columbia University Reveals the Presence of Harmful Nano Plastics in Packaged Water Bottles

A recent study conducted by Columbia University has left US citizens in shock. This new study brought to light how an average bottle of water can be the reason why some individuals can suffer sever health consequences in the future.

The study has discovered that the average bottle of water consumed by people contains nearly a quarter million fragments of nano plastics. Nano plastics can be understood as plastic particles that are so small in structure that they can easily penetrate organ barriers within the human body, in addition to messing with the functioning of human blood cells.

Bottled Water: Contamination in New Form 

Beizhan Yan, from Columbia University was quoted saying that these nano plastics can be found everywhere: “They are high up in the alpine, and down in the Marianas Trench, and quite a lot in New York City water as well.” Yan also confirmed that these tiny compounds had the capacity to enter into an individual’s blood stream, and further penetrate organ barriers to enter the cells. This, in turn, can cause an interference with the functioning of organelles (commonly referred to as cellular organs), which eventually can lead to an individual experiencing an organ failure.

According to this study, nano plastics were not the only thing found in bottles of water. They also contained bits of unidentified microscopic clays, black carbon from fires, and metals. In addition to this, the research team at Columbia also cautioned the general public about the plastic found in these water bottles, labelling these bottles as “degraded.”

These bottles were found to contain an overwhelming amount of potentially harmful nano plastics that weren’t found in the bottles themselves. Water contamination of this severity has caused experts across the region to be on the lookout for unknown sources of environmental contamination.

Other compounds that scientists at Columbia University were able to identify were nylon, which is known to break down into toxic monomers as it degrades with time, polystyrene (more commonly known as Styrofoam), and polyvinyl chloride, which contains harmful additives such as lead or phthalates. Polyvinyl chloride is notoriously known in the scientific world to cause disruptions in the nervous or endocrine systems, if entered the human body.

Furthermore, research also discovered the presence of plastic compounds in the water that matched the primary material found in reverse-osmosis filters, proving that these plastics had contaminated the water by the very process of making them clean – Filtration.

An Uncontrollable Danger 

According to the Environmental protection Agency, one of the ways by which these toxins had entered the water is through the presence of plastic gases in the environment. Plastic plants are scientifically proven to emit aerosolized plastic gases that have the ability to get into the environment. They can completely mix with air and rain, and ultimately find their way in ‘purified’ water bottles.

For the research team at Columbia University, finding out how these nano plastics managed enter the water sources is of secondary importance. Their main concern the impact it will have on the health of people, especially to the overall health of children, senior citizens, and pregnant women.

Research studies across the globe have confirmed that continuous exposure to micro and nano plastics can eventually lead to cell damage in an individual’s nervous system, which can cause increased risk of nervous system disorders and change in behavior patterns. Nano plastics are harder to identify and eliminate in comparison to microplastics. The former is also more damaging to the human body.

For expecting mothers, Nano plastics are a much bigger threat since they are small enough to cross the placenta into the sheltered environment of the womb and cause significant unknown effects on the developing fetus.

Extensive research is currently underway in order to eradicate these toxins from the water, in addition to finding out the contamination source.

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