Öko-Test study on microplastic in mineral water

Öko-Test study on microplastic in mineral water

04.09.2020

Germany's popular consumer magazine Öko-Test has published a study on microplastic particles in mineral water that received considerable attention in the media. It said that, according to an analysis of a total of 71 samples especially from several non-returnable PET bottles, microplastic particles were contained in the mineral water. Microplastic particles were apparently also found in returnable PET bottles, although the quantity was significantly smaller. No particles were found in glass bottles. According to Öko-Test, an innovative measuring method was used for the analysis. We also invite you to read the interview with Dr. Braun in this issue on the still unsolved problem of harmonizing the analysis methods for detecting microplastic in foodstuffs.

On behalf of the Öko-Test magazine, a private contract laboratory, Indikator GmbH from Wuppertal/Germany, examined a total of 21 samples of mineral water of the Still and Medium brands. 52 of these samples were in non-returnable PET bottles, 9 in reusable PET bottles and, as counter-samples, 10 glass bottles. With the "innovative" measuring method known as “SingleParticle-ICP-MS”, the content of a bottle was examined in each case for particles containing antimony. Within one hour, three million analysis points were apparently registered and further processed statistically. Free antimony released from the PET material was, according to the report, separated off so that only the antimony-containing particles were documented. The plastic particles were thus detected indirectly via the metalloid antimony, which is used in the form of antimony trioxide for the production of PET plastics. The result was that the laboratory found antimony-containing particles in 27 of 61 water samples in PET bottles, mostly in non-returnable PET bottles where 100,000 particles per liter had been measured four times, and once 500,000 particles per liter. With the new multi-use PET bottles, particles were found in four bottles, but much less than in the single-use bottles. No particles at all were found in the ten samples from glass bottles. The size of the particles varied between one and ten micrometers (µm).
According to Öko-Test, the analysis provides a possible approach for determining PET particles in mineral water. However, the analysis does not provide any information on the point at which, during the entire process from production to storage, the particles actually get into the water. Nor was it possible to give any information on whether the quantities found were far more or far less than those found in other foodstuffs, because no results exist from tests carried out according to the same method. Finally, it had not been clarified scientifically to what extent microplastic affects human health. However, because health restrictions could not be excluded, the consumer magazine recommends giving preference to water in returnable glass bottles.
More Information: www.oekotest.de
Sources:
    • OEKO-TEST (28.5.2020)
    • Photo: © Indikator GmbH

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