What is the problem with microplastics?The soup of disintegrated plastic bags, bottles and other items in our oceans is well known and increasingly we hear about microplastics, tiny synthetic fibres washed from our clothes, cosmetics and other sources into sewage systems and then into waterways. It is also believed that fibres become airborne from fabric and carpet wear and tear and clothes drying, and then fall into the water.
The scale of global microplastic contamination is only starting to become clear, with studies in Germany finding fibres and fragments in all of the 24 beer brands they tested, as well as in honey and sugar. In Paris in 2015, researchers discovered microplastic falling from the air, which they estimated deposits three to 10 tonnes of fibres on the city each year... 1We knew that fish consumed these microplastics, contaminating sea life and any creature that eats those fish. But, we now know that humans are drinking microplastics from tap water, and that some bottled water has even twice the amount of plastic particles. Among the studies that highlighted the problem, in 2017, tap water samples from over 12 countries were analysed by scientists for an investigation by Orb Media that was reported in the Guardian:
83% of the samples were contaminated with plastic fibres. The US had the highest contamination rate, at 94%, with plastic fibres found in tap water sampled at sites including Congress buildings, the US Environmental Protection Agency's headquarters, and Trump Tower in New York. Lebanon and India had the next highest rates. 1A second study has led to the World Health Organisation conducting a review into the potential risks of plastic in drinking water after plastic microfibres were found in some of the world's most popular bottled water brands. In this study also commissioned by Orb Media and reported in the Guardian:
Analysis of 259 bottles from 19 locations in nine countries across 11 different brands found an average of 325 plastic particles for every litre of water being sold. In one bottle of Nestlé Pure Life, concentrations were as high as 10,000 plastic pieces per litre of water. Of the 259 bottles tested, only 17 were free of plastics, according to the study. The scientists wrote they had “found roughly twice as many plastic particles within bottled water” compared with their previous study of tap water. 2
How do filters remove microplastics from tap water?Doulton ceramic water filters provide an absolute filtration rating of 99.99%+. It's a clever process that filters sub-micron particles and pathogenic bacteria. Doulton offers different grades of filters depending on the contaminants you wish to filter from water. Biome stocks the Super Sterasyl filter listed on the left of this diagram: Outer Shell for micro filtration, anti-bacterial silver technology guards the ceramic against bacterial growth, and activated carbon core to remove chlorine. Doulton ceramic filters add nothing to the water during filtration. This ensures that essential minerals are retained for healthy water and a superior taste. The OKO water bottle filters use a combination of 400 pores that stop particles of 1.5 - 2 micron size and a second protective method of electro-adsorption which stops sub-micron contaminants (e.g. bacteria, Protozoa, and even some viruses).
Further Reading 1. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/sep/06/plastic-fibres-found-tap-water-around-world-study-reveals 2. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/mar/15/microplastics-found-in-more-than-90-of-bottled-water-study-says