The World Health Organization says the levels of microplastics in drinking water don’t appear to be risky, but that research has been spotty and more is needed into their effects on the environment and health. Microplastics are created when man-made materials break down into tiny particles smaller than about 5 millimeters, although there is no strict scientific definition.
- In a report published on 21 August 2019, the UN health agency said the minuscule plastics are “ubiquitous in the environment” and have been found in drinking water, including both tap and bottled, most likely as the result of treatment and distribution systems.
- The report is WHO’s first review to investigate the potential human health risks of microplastics. It said people have inadvertently consumed microplastics and other particles in the environment for decades without sign of harm.
- Even if we stop (adding) plastic to the environment right now, microplastics will increase as larger pieces divide into smaller and smaller pieces, scientists have little understanding of the long-term consequences.