A recent study by the Water Research Council has found microplastic in the drinking water of both Tshwane and Johannesburg.
Among other recommendations, the authors of the paper (H Bouwman, K Minnaar, C Bezuidenhout and C Verster, of the University of the North West) recommend further research to establish “the leaching of chemicals from plastics under South African conditions (high temperatures, dry periods and UV); … accumulation in humans, animals, plants, and other biota; [and] microplastics in ground and tap waters…”
The study notes that “the import, manufacture, use, formulation, sale, and export of microbeads in products” is banned in the USA, UK, Sweden and elsewhere, and calls for the South African government to institute a similar, “immediate” ban.
In an interview with News24, Professor Henk Bouwman, one of the researchers, said, "There is no consensus yet on any health impacts as the science is still in its infancy. It might be benign, and it might not be. There are a whole lot of things we don't understand at this stage."
Tshwane and Johannesburg were the only two cities where tap water was tested. Considering that an international study by Orb Media, found that 94% of tap water in the USA and 72% in Europe contained microplastics, one would assume there would be similar results for drinking water coming out of taps in other South African cities.
Unfortunately, bottled water is not the solution. Researchers in the Department of Geology and Environmental Sciences of Fredonia University in New York tested “27 different lots of bottled water from eleven different brands purchased in nineteen locations across nine different countries” for microplastic contamination. 93% tested positive. Researchers noted that “Analysis of microplastics by micro-Raman spectroscopy” by Schymanski et al. (2018), along with their own study indicated that “at least part of the microplastic contamination [arose] from the packaging material and/or the bottling process itself.”
“I’ve always worried about the chemicals in the water I drink, and I’ve been aware of the US studies into microplastic in drinking water. The South African study just proves me justified in my concern about the water that comes out of our taps. Luckily for us, there are excellent water purifiers and filters on the market. Personally, I prefer to filter the water that comes out of my taps before my family drinks it.”, says H2O International Managing Director, Tony Marchesini.
Relying on the knowledge of the diverse water issues of different regions of South Africa and in line with the latest industry and technological developments, H2O International’s offering incorporates a comprehensive range of water purifiers from counter-top models, under-counter models and in-line appliance cartridges to shower and bath systems, hot and cold-water dispensers and whole-house systems, with components that comply with international standards.
These products utilise the latest available technologies, including Granular Activated Carbon (GAC); Ceramic, Kinetic Degradation Flexion (KDF®), Ultra Filters , Reverse Osmosis and HaloPure technology – most of which are able to filter out the unwanted micro plastic beads.
“Water quality varies even within one city, never mind from one city to the next. Each home within those cities will have different requirements, and there are many filtration options out there. My question is, do we need any more proof that we need to filter our drinking water?”, concludes Marchesini.
For more about H2O International, refer to www.h2o.co.za
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