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Why water filtration is key: microplastics in the human body

As we learn more about the condition of the Earth’s waters and how and what pollutes them over time, it also becomes clearer how these affect us and our health. We have certainly all read about the microbial contamination of drinking water, but what exactly does this mean and what does it cause if we do nothing to stop it? The following is a brief overview of plastic and some reassuring solutions are also touched upon.

But why is so much microplastic generated?

We have already heard the expression microplastic, but we may not exactly know what it actually means. We know about it thanks to a great discovery that was welcomed by the whole world, the discovery of plastic.

Plastic is cheap, light and offers a versatile use, something mankind valued in unity when it became the most common raw material in mass production in the 1930s. The scope of its use has been expanding ever since, it is present in practically everything and has replaced everything it could. The packaging industry is the largest user of plastic, representing 40% of all products. Packaging is nothing more than the most useless thing on Earth since as soon as we buy, consume or use the product, its packaging goes right into the bin. But where does it go from there? A minor part goes into recycling, a larger part to landfills or perhaps incinerators, but a significant amount finds its way straight into the environment, to the water or soil, heavily polluting them.

But what makes it micro and how does it get into our body?

Plastics degrade very slowly due to their material structure. They break into smaller and smaller pieces in the long process of degradation, and eventually become invisible but actually more hazardous compared to when we could see them.

Pieces of plastic less than 5 mm are called microplastic. These tiny particles were already observed in the 1970s, but their impact has been investigated for only a few decades.

In recent years, tests have also been carried out in European rivers and lakes which showed that this hazardous contamination is already present on our continent.

Why is tiny size a problem?

Plankton, mussels and fish at the bottom of the food chain accidentally consume these microplastics. These can not only kill the specimens concerned but can also make it to living creatures positioned higher in the food chain, even to humans.

But microplastics pose a risk not only by being physically present but through the harmful, health damaging compounds leaking from them into the water and the body of living creatures. Such hazardous compounds include toxic substances or endocrine disruptors used in the course of plastic production (bisphenol-A, phthalates and polybrominated diphenyl ether flame retardants). Moreover, microplastics bond other contaminants present in the water so they can get into the body in a more concentrated form.

Bottled water pollutes the most

A recent assessment found that microplastic is also present in the Danube, albeit to a lesser extent: the results were similar to or somewhat lower than the findings of water quality assessments in other countries. The results well reflect that tap water in Budapest is of a good quality, and the tested bottled mineral waters had the highest microplastic content. So by drinking bottled mineral water regularly we have to count with harmful microplastics getting into our body.

What can we do in the here and now?

First, the best solution is prevention: disposable plastics need to be banned and phased out from commerce, and we should return to deposit refundable and reusable products instead. Another thing we can do is to not buy packaged, bottled, disposable products but rather strive to generate as little waste as possible.

If we want to keep our liquid consumption microplastic-free, we should definitely give up drinking bottled mineral water and any bottled drinks. The best choice we can make is filtered tap water, which is easy to access and safe and tasty at the same time. The purified, filtered and premium quality Floewater tap water is packaging-free so we do not burden the environment with any PET bottles either. If we always have our own flask with us, we can refill it anywhere without burdening the environment with further plastic waste.



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