Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

WHO Says Microplastics in Drinking Water Present 'Low' Risk

Health + Wellness
WHO Says Microplastics in Drinking Water Present 'Low' Risk

The WHO stressed that more research is needed on the potential health risks of microplastic ingestion. luchschen / iStock / Getty Images Plus

The UN's health agency on Thursday said that microplastics contained in drinking water posed a "low" risk at their current levels.

However, the World Health Organization (WHO) — in its first report on the potential health risks of microplastic ingestion — also stressed more research was needed to reassure consumers.


The report sums up a small but growing number of scientific studies on the subject and draws its conclusions from them.

Microplastics arise when man-made materials degrade into tiny particles. While the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration classifies them as any type of plastic fragment of less than 5 millimeters (about one-fifth of an inch), most human health concerns are focused on far smaller particles.

More Research Needed

The report's authors concluded that research should focus on chemical additives in plastic and the effects of microplastics small enough to enter tissues.

Most plastic particles in water are more than 150 micrometers in diameter and are excreted from the body. But, the report said, "smaller particles are more likely to cross the gut wall and reach other tissues."

"For these smallest size particles, where there is really limited evidence, we need to know more about what is being absorbed, the distribution and their impacts," said one of the authors, Jennifer De France.

Reposted with permission from our media associate DW.

A seagull flies in front of the Rampion offshore wind farm in the United Kingdom. Neil / CC BY 2.0

By Tara Lohan

A key part of the United States' clean energy transition has started to take shape, but you may need to squint to see it. About 2,000 wind turbines could be built far offshore, in federal waters off the Atlantic Coast, in the next 10 years. And more are expected.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

By Frank La Sorte and Kyle Horton

Millions of birds travel between their breeding and wintering grounds during spring and autumn migration, creating one of the greatest spectacles of the natural world. These journeys often span incredible distances. For example, the Blackpoll warbler, which weighs less than half an ounce, may travel up to 1,500 miles between its nesting grounds in Canada and its wintering grounds in the Caribbean and South America.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Kevin Maillefer / Unsplash

By Lynne Peeples

Editor's note: This story is part of a nine-month investigation of drinking water contamination across the U.S. The series is supported by funding from the Park Foundation and Water Foundation. Read the launch story, "Thirsting for Solutions," here.

In late September 2020, officials in Wrangell, Alaska, warned residents who were elderly, pregnant or had health problems to avoid drinking the city's tap water — unless they could filter it on their own.

Read More Show Less
Eat Just's cell-based chicken nugget is now served at Singapore restaurant 1880. Eat Just, Inc.

At a time of impending global food scarcity, cell-based meats and seafood have been heralded as the future of food.

Read More Show Less
New Zealand sea lions are an endangered species and one of the rarest species of sea lions in the world. Art Wolfe / Photodisc / Getty Images

One city in New Zealand knows what its priorities are.

Dunedin, the second largest city on New Zealand's South Island, has closed a popular road to protect a mother sea lion and her pup, The Guardian reported.

Read More Show Less