What water has the most microplastics in Spain? This is what a study says

He water It is a key resource for life on our planet. In SpainSpecifically, we appreciate its importance when there is a small quantity, as is the case of Catalonia in these times of drought in the region, or when we see that 99% of this good, in its current form, is drinkable in our country.

However, there is a small threat that is threatening not only the ecosystem, but also our body: microplastics. These are the result of the degradation of plastic waste in the natural environmentthus becoming smaller and smaller particles.

Specifically, the size varies between one micrometer and five millimeters, and they are already in all the natural environments analyzed, these being the oceans, the atmosphere and the terrestrial soil. Likewise, these also They can be present in the food and water we drink.

To analyze the presence of these elements in the national water, members of Environplanetthanks to an agreement signed by the Autonomous University of Madrid (UAM) and in collaboration with the Organization of consumers and users (OCU), carried out an investigation in two parts, where tap water and bottled water drunk in Spain.

Bottled water vs tap water

In the first part of the analysis, published in an article in 2023 in the scientific journal Water Research, these researchersyes analyzed the presence of microplastics and non-plastic artificial particles in the adrinking tap water of the cities of Madrid, Barcelona, ​​Vigo, A Coruña, Murcia, Cartagena, San Cristóbal de La Laguna and Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. The result was that in all the samples analyzed sand they found microplasticsalthough low concentrations if we compare them with other parts of the world.

Bottled waterThe reason

For the second part of the macro study, published this time in the journal Scientific Reports, the same researchers focused, this time, on the bottled water. More specifically, they analyzed packaging from five of the water brands most important of Spainwhich represent, between them, 40% of the market for this resource at the national level.

The results of both investigations allowed a Comparison between tap and bottled waterwith conclusive results: the bottled waters They mainly contained fragments of transparent and white polyesterswhich are found in the composition of the bottles themselves, and cellulose fibers. On the other hand, the tap water presents a greater diversity of microplastics.

Specifically, the average concentration of microplastics (MP) in bottled water was 0.7 MP per liter, while that of non-plastic particles of artificial origin (PANP) was 1.70 PANP per liter analyzed. On the other hand, these numbers were lower, since it presented an average concentration of 0.0125 MP/liter and 0.0322 PANP/liter.

In conclusion, the tap wateralthough it presents a greater record of microplastics, It has a lower concentration than bottled water.

Health effects

The authors of the studies concluded, on the dissemination portal The Conversationwhich “is very plastic ingested this way is unlikely to cause adverse effects in humans because the amount ingested in total weight is negligible. However, there are no studies to date to demonstrate whether these concentrations can cause harm in humans.

Likewise, they urged governments and different organizations to “develop informed policies on contaminants in food and water, in addition to promoting the use of the cleanest possible sources, in this case tap water, cost-effective and environmentally friendly.” environment and reduces the amount of plastic waste generated”.