Kenya’s biggest water bottling company, Coca Cola has accepted that there are microplastics in its Dasani water. This comes after a study by scientists based at the State University of New York showed that 93 percent of world’s famous bottled water products are contaminated by tiny pieces of plastic.
According to BBC Coca-Cola said it had some of the most stringent quality standards in the industry and it used a “multi-step filtration process.” But it also acknowledged that microplastics “appear to be ubiquitous and therefore may be found at minute levels even in highly treated products”.
The scientists were commissioned by a non-profit media organisation, Orb, to analyse bottled water sourced from Kenya, Indonesia, India, the US, Lebanon, Thailand, China, Mexico, Brazil and e-commerce platform Amazon. The study tested 259 bottles sold by 11 brands, purchased in 19 locations in nine different countries. Only 17 bottles were free of plastics. It revealed how major bottled water brands, including Aquafina, Dasani, Nestle and Evian all have tens, hundreds, and in some cases, thousands of microplastic particles floating in their products. According to the study, these microparticles are typically about the same thickness as a single strand of human hair, and scientists don’t know yet what gulping them down might be doing to our bodies.
Samples from Nestle Pure Life brand sourced from the US had the highest concentration at 10,390 plastic pieces a litre. The study revealed that contamination was at least partially coming from the packaging or the bottling process. Samples of Dasani water bought from Amazon had a concentration of 335 plastic pieces per litre.
The response of bottled water companies
According to BBC, Nestle said its own internal testing for microplastics began more than two years ago and had not detected any “above trace level”. A spokesman added that Prof Mason’s study missed key steps to avoid “false positives” but he invited Orb Media to compare methods.
PepsiCo said Aquafina had “rigorous quality control measures sanitary manufacturing practices, filtration and other food safety mechanisms which yield a reliably safe product”. It further described the science of microplastics as “an emerging field, in its infancy, which requires further scientific analysis, peer-reviewed research and greater collaboration across many stakeholders”
However, in 2017 UK medical journal, Lancet published an article on Microplastics and Human Health where it said that while no one has come out to quantify the effect of microplastics on human beings urgent measures are needed to reduce its use and to understand the effects of these particles on both ecosystems and the human body.