Here’s What You Should Know About What’s in that Bottle of Water

If you drink bottled water, here’s a heads-up.

BBC News reports the World Health Organization is looking into whether plastic water bottles pose a long-term health threat.

Bruce Gordon, coordinator of the WHO’s global work on water and sanitation, told BBC News the organization is trying to understand the effects plastic particles in bottled drinking water have on the human body so it can establish safety guidelines.

The decision to launch the study follows an investigation by nonprofit journalism organization Orb Media, which discovered “a single bottle [of water] can hold dozens or possibly even thousands of microscopic plastic particles.”

Microplastic particles were discovered in 90% of the bottles Orb tested, in sizes ranging from the width of a human hair to as small as a red blood cell.

While the water in some bottles Orb tested contained no plastic, others had upwards of 10,000 particles per liter.

According to the report, “Orb’s findings suggest that a person who drinks a liter of bottled water a day might be consuming tens of thousands of microplastic particles each year.”

Though microplastics are known to be an environmental concern, their effect on human health isn’t clearly understood.

But Gordon says he doesn’t want people to panic. Bottled water in the U.S. is heavily regulated for safety by the Food and Drug Administration.

If tap water is more your style, the Environmental Protection Agency regulates that, too.  

Of course, you could also filter your tap water and drink from refillable glass or metal containers.

Can’t decide which option is the best for your budget? We did the math for you.

Lisa McGreevy is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She fills her portable plastic water bottle from a five-gallon plastic jug, so she’s a little nervous right now.