A new report is shedding light on how widespread the problem of plastic pollution has become.
Research led by a nonprofit journalism company, Orb Media, found microplastic contamination in 83 percent of the drinking water samples from around the world.
Samples from the United States were the most contaminated (94 percent) while the European Union contained the least amount of plastic (but still 72 percent). The samples came from a number of countries including the U.S., Uganda, Cuba, Lebanon and India. They even sampled water from Trump Tower in New York.
Plastic can last for hundreds of years before biodegrading, but it can also break down into smaller particles. Researchers believe that this microplastic enters drinker water in a variety of ways, and can even come from the air when clothing fibers break free, “like a cat shedding fur.”
The findings are another example of researchers finding plastic contamination just about everywhere they look. Other studies have found plastic in beer, honey and even sugar.
Studies with fish have shown that ingesting microplastic can be associated with liver toxicity. But there is no medical consensus on what the health impact on humans.
“Plastic frees us, improving daily life in uncountable ways,” the study’s authors note.
But they are also urging for further research into what all of the plastic floating around the globe will mean for human health.