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Opinion | Jul 26, 2018

Mineral Water In Plastic Bottles Are Contaminated

Mineral Water Plastic Bottles
Mineral Water Plastic Bottles

According to a study, mineral water is often contaminated with microplastic particles.

Is our mineral water contaminated with microplastic? One study comes to the conclusion: yes. But manufacturer and product names are not mentioned. Foodwatch demands full test results.

The consumer ministry in North Rhine-Westphalia in Germany, holds according to test results according to Foodwatch. It's about microplastic particles in mineral water. These were demonstrated at the end of 2017 in a mineral water study published by a ministry, but the problem is, neither manufacturer nor product names were mentioned.

Even at the request of the consumer organization, the ministry did not mention any name of products or manufacturer...among other things due to an ongoing doctoral procedure, within which the affected analyzes were carried out.

Danger in everyday life: microplastic alarm: You should not buy these products...but then a full and detailed publication of the results is required.

"The North Rhine-Westphalian consumer ministry puts economic interests above consumer interests when it keeps the names of the mineral water brands, which are burdened with microplastic, a secret," criticized Mrs. Sophie Unger of Foodwatch.

The consumer organization is calling on the ministry to fully publish the test results. Foodwatch also launches an e-mail campaign at

"When a government agency conducts tests, consumers have a right to know the results, people want to know which waters contain microplastics, but first of all, all the facts must be on the table, especially for a drink such as mineral water, the Many people consume large quantities every day, "explains Mrs. Sophie Unger.

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There are 38 products in the test. The study tested 38 mineral waters filled in plastic and glass bottles. The result: water from reusable plastic bottles was particularly high burdened with microplastic. But the water in some glass bottles also showed many of the particles.

The laboratory analysis was carried out by the Chemical and Veterinary Investigation Office Münsterland-Emscher-Lippe (CVUA-MEL) in cooperation with the Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster in Germany.

How dangerous is microplastics in food?
Not only in mineral water, but also in other foods microplastic has already been detected - for example in sea salt. It's currently not known exactly what the particles in our body cause, however it is believed that they could cause inflammation.

The Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) declares that there are currently too few data available to evaluate the health effects of microplastics. Nevertheless, the BfR is to Foodwatch with regard to the study all-clear: According to the current state of knowledge, "no health risk for the consumer is concretely detected."

For Foodwatch, this statement is contradictory and does not go far enough: "On the one hand, the agency can not make a health assessment of microplastics in food, because the data are missing - on the other hand, they assume that the findings in the mineral water is no risk. The Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) is therefore pushing “the consumer ministry” in Germany to produce a proper risk assessment on the test results and no assumptions, if the data is missing, it has to be collected, said Mrs. Sophie Unger.

Francis Tawiah
Francis Tawiah, © 2018

This author has authored 500 publications on Modern Ghana.
Author column: FrancisTawiah

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