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Plastic fibres found in tap water around the world, study reveals

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Tests show billions of people globally are drinking water contaminated by plastic particles, with 83% of samples found to be polluted




"The US had the highest contamination rate, at 94%, with plastic fibres found in tap water sampled at sites including Congress buildings, the US Environmental Protection Agency’s headquarters, and Trump Tower in New York.

Lebanon and India had the next highest rates."


"European nations including the UK, Germany and France had the lowest contamination rate, but this was still 72%."


and this report is on TAP water - dont forget the fish and beaches.


"the results of a study by Plymouth University caused a stir when it was reported that plastic was found in a third of UK-caught fish, including cod, haddock, mackerel and shellfish."




"The most common plastic types were Polyethylene terephtalate (PET) comprising 20% of the samples followed by Nylon 6% and Acrylic 5%. "




I express my honestly held opinions - they are nothing more or less than that.

... Its just doing some due diligence that makes them seem unusual ...


Its official: Boris 'The Liar' Johnsons word is not worth the paper its written on


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they took 159 samples worldwide. They do not mention their sampling methodology other than to give a mean number of fibres per 500ml per country and mention 3 locations in the US.

They may well be right and billions of people are exposed to plastic microparticles in water or there again they might be using bad science and somewhere between 100 and 145 people worldwide are exposed. Now quite so dramatic news in that. Conflating the supposed problem by inclusion of a separate study on a different problem doesnt make it any more valid and will make peopel immume to the genuine problem of marine litter.

Like so many other press releases of this tye it makes a mockery of scientific research in general and can easily be discounted as "please give me more money for my research" due to the dearth of proper attention to epidemiological rigour.

Also, they dont and cant say wheter this is actuallu a public health matter. You can report that all sorts of minerals are found in tap water and that the background radiation on beaches in Cornwall are higher than those in Norfolk but without consideringa a TLV it is all meaningless.

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Like so many other press releases of this tye it makes a mockery of scientific research in general


Where are your studies or scientifically reviewed articles to support that apparently purely personal opinion of yours supported by absolutely no evidence or even specialist knowledge ericbrother?


You might find a few directly funded by the plastics and petroleum industries, but little else.

... go for it. It might raise the credibility of your post a little.

I express my honestly held opinions - they are nothing more or less than that.

... Its just doing some due diligence that makes them seem unusual ...


Its official: Boris 'The Liar' Johnsons word is not worth the paper its written on


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bad science doesnt become good science just because you dont like being told that some article you found is basically flawed in its methodology and application (or lack of) of statistical method and quality control.

Also the study has been instigated and published by a company that is a campaigning media co and has not been published in one of the well known scientific journals like Nature or New Scientist and has not been the subject of any sort of peer review, a vital step to getting a study into the mainstream.

As said, it may be important but the way it has been conducted and reported means that it cannot be taken seriously and so damages other causes or research of a similar nature by association as no-one will ever cite it but will be compared to it.. I can find huindreds of other articles published on analytical methodology and water chemistry in all sorts of journals and many of the ones that are pertinent are written by an ex colleague of mine. (worked together 1980-88 when he went elsewhere)

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Do we take it you dont even have the ones (bad science) from the plastics and petroleum industries?


Nothing to contradict even the few links I gave ( there are lots more)?

So you have nothing?

I express my honestly held opinions - they are nothing more or less than that.

... Its just doing some due diligence that makes them seem unusual ...


Its official: Boris 'The Liar' Johnsons word is not worth the paper its written on


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With just so few samples tested worldwide this is hardly to be considered a reliable information.

It's worrying that plastic has been found in tap water, but a much larger, independent research is needed before anything else can be said.

It would be like taking a few hundred sea water temperature readings in carefully selected locations in particular conditions and claim that the oceans around the world are getting warmer.

Oh hung on, they already did that...

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What i what to know is how so much plastic is ending up in the sea ? Who is dumping it ?


I thought it was melted down and reused to make new plastic containers. Or is that too expensive and recycling centres in other countries are dumping it in the seas ?

We could do with some help from you.



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  • 2 months later...



China to stop taking UK plastic waste, meaning UK will have to find other recycling options.


Quite a big problem to resolve in a short amount of time. You can't set up the huge factories needed to melt the plastic down into plastic blocks very quickly. The sheer volume of plastic to be processed would require sites of an enormous size and would be very expensive to set up in the UK or Europe. I should imagine that polution would be a problem as well, when they melt plastic as part of the recycling process.

We could do with some help from you.



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oh god get the tin foil hats out again....

please don't hit Quote...just type we know what we said earlier..


if everyone stopped blindly paying DCA's tomorrow

the biggest financial industry in the UK, DCA;s -  would collapse overnight.


DCA's view debtors as suckers, marks and mugs - that's why they will never tell you they are not bailiffs and have absolutely zero legal powers on any debt.



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The UK like to recycle the cheaper plastics that are easy to sort and handle.

All plastics can be used as fuel as they are essentially petroleum products and the calorific value you get from burning them is equal to the energy taken to manufacture them so that way it can be said to be having a neutral effect on the planet.


What we dont have however is a plethora of power stations designed or adapted to burn the stuff and trying to persuade some that it would be a good idea will be a non starter.


As a race we have to accept we either thrive by destroying eveything else on this earth or we make a decision to halt the population growth and reverse it massively to get to no more than 5 billion, 2 billion being a better number if you want the rest of the ecology to recover.

In the short term we need to accept the cost of fully recycling our waste and not shovel the problem on to the third world.


I was reading a paper recently on using chicken feathers as a building insulation material.

We eat 893 million chickens a day so that is a lot of feathers that get discarded.


Plastic can be made into bricks and used for rapid building erection and would be ideal for places that were flattened by hurricanes.

Again they would be a short term answer and they would be pretty ugly but light, transportable and cost effective.

All you need to consider is how to recycle a plasic shack that has been deposited in say Haiti when it is no longer needed.


UB's points about pollution are already addressed in a couple of waste incinerator power stations.

Again it down to cost and the efficiency of bodies llike local authorities in grading their waste.


Biodogestors make methans gas for power generation and you end up with compost to boot but you also produce as much CO2 as methane (cant be helped the bacteria have to respire).


Fuel cells produce water, all of these are greenhouse gases but we fixate on the CO2, which hasnt reached the saturation point that plants actually would like to live in as being the only one that matters.


So why dont we utilise the technology more?

You will have to ask the ecowarriors that, they are the ones who climbed the chimneys of SELCHP to stop it from being commissioned when it had been running for 2 years and also say we should compost everything. Well, as said that bioactivity produces greenhouses gases that are then just released into the atmosphere when they could be a resource.


The Eden Project coat £141 million, my proposal to use the cornish alps for roadstone for the M25 and transporting London's waste on the return trip for the ships carrying the stone would have made a profit of about £10k a load but reduced the costs of both the aggregate and the disposal of the rubbish by 90%. It is reckoned that the value to the local economy by having the Eden Project there has been over a billion quid so there are 2 sides to every coin.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Interesting posts.

How long have plastics been going now to cause this mess about a hundred years perhaps.

And talk of increasing production i believe.I will try to find the areas involved but sure this is true,more factories.I will find where i read this.

I am not that keen on eating microplastics as the link Ford put on says.


Two Belgian researchers, looking at the amount of microplastics in some shellfish, concluded in 2014 that the average European seafood consumer could be eating 11,000 microplastics every year.

For now, the potential risks to human health posed by this plastic consumption are not totally clear ― although preliminary research suggests some plastics could be toxic to humans, and could potentially increase the risk of cancer and liver damage, reproductive problems, and other negative health effects.


So after about 100 years there is this trash in our seas,countryside,lanes,fields,hedgerows,streams rivers everywhere you look,we all see it on the beaches,all shapes sizes,coulours,visible or invisible to the human eye.

And as far as i can tell no clear research of what damage this eating of microplastics is doing to us.


On another slightly worrying thing i have recently come across.Not to clear yet still looking into it.

Anyone works in plastic factories or places they use the tiny pellets they melt to use to make plastic products.

Early days yet in this small investigation.And will probably fade away as time goes by because people when treated badly usually leave a bad employer,but there is always another to take their place.

Someone showed me a video recently of a factory,a right xxxxhole in this country where the owner is not bothered that much about maintaining equipment just the end result,pounds in the pocket.

And has a few factories and outlets worldwide.Treats staff like xxxx but a job is a job.

Where if a accident happens things are quickly covered up before Health and safety appear.

Telling me when these plastic pellets are spilt outside straight down the drain they go.

Someone because of the colour thought it was just grit as in a car park,similar colour.Regular occurrence.And does not know any different,not trained properly and does not realise the possible problems this could or may cause.

So does get you thinking just what is happening in factories across the world daily.

Pollution must be massive,increasing and many times unseen.

And not just the bags and microplastics,straws and all the other things we usually hear about.

But producers,factories that is the ones that do not give a monkeys.

Kind of how big is the problem out there worldwide on the production side not the consumer side.

Makes you wonder.

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although the example you use may be damaging

it is on a very local scale and the pellets of a size that can easily be removed from the environment.


As for toxicity,

plastics are basically inert when they are a finished product,


it is when they are made from various liquids and gases or when they are burnt that they are toxic.


The problem with microparticles is rather different and toxicity isnt too much to worry about but waht si the problem is how the body's defence mechanisms recognise the particles and what they then do.


For example, colloidal silica in the lungs is a killer.

inject it into a broken bone and it becomes a scaffold for new tissue to genrate and heal the fracture.

get it in the blood stream and you create havoc for the immune system yet it is advertised in magazines as a cure for immune diseases like arthritis!


So it appears as though the body's defence systems ignores plastics most of the time and this can lead to then being carried into the small blood vessels in the brain where they will accumulate and clog up causing necrosis of the brain cells.


No-one looks for this sort of thing unless you happen to die of a brain disease and even then i doont know of anyone who specifically is working on this particular subject, the nearest being papers written on small carbon deposits that come mostly from traffic pollution (not diesel PM20's or PM 10's but mostly tiny bits of residue from tyres so all of the furore about diesel wont save a life).


Now another problem is having the right sort of scientist looking for things as medicos wont know enopigh about chemistry or materials science to know what to look for or interpret what they see and life sciences labs wont have the right analytial kit either.


Of course the reverse is also true, the materials and earth scientists may be able to characterise what they find but wont undersatnd the significance of it or know how it fits in with the body's chemistry as they wont have access to that sort of analytical tools.


The short term answer is fairly simple, everyhting we chuck out goes to a sorting facility.


Ideally in separate bins but as contanimation will always be an issue hand sorting will always be necessary.


You then use everything , green glass isnt widely recycled in this country because as yet we dont have a big enough wine industry to reuse all of the empties from abroad.


the glass can be crushed and used in concrete and is particularly well suited for road surfacing.

You cant add too much or the concrete doesnt set properly.


Incinerator ash was turned into a glass in the late 1950's and cast into pipes for sewers etc, incredibly strong compared to the ceramic ones but expensive by comparison.


Crushed glass also makes a decent graded filter for water and sewage treatment, artificial reefs in the oceans and so on.


We just have to accept that there is a cost and the best way of making people pay this is at the source rather than at disposal.


Deposits on bottles? yes.

5p for charity for your carrier bag? no, it disassociates the cause and effect.

Make the supermarkets hand the money over for specific projects or research.


Now what about people who dump rubbish?

most of the fly tipping has bloomed because of the cost fo disposal and also because of the tonnes of extra paperwork needed to be complied with under the EPA.

Simplify all of that and bring out penalties that will act as a deterrent.


Currently if a company pollutes they can go bankrupt and avoid their responsibilities.

make prison for the directos of that co the first option and fines secondary.

Seizure of vehicles involved in crime (all crime) should be a primary step.

car crime will fall as a result, driving without insurance?

car seized at side of road in ALL cases will reeducate people.


drunk driving?

car gone will sober them up.


chuck maccyd wrapper out of car window?

care to pick it up or expect a walking holiday this year.


When it is shown that the public approve of these steps they become less draconian because the perpetrators wont feel so hard done by as no-one will give them a jot of sympathy.


Currently most people speed at some point and dont get done.

when they do it is often seen as unfair because they were following the habits of everyone else.


Now you need to address whether a particular limit needs enforcing at a particular place and other than built up areas the answer is no.


Speed limits dont stop poeple being stupid so changing a 40 limit in a tunnel to 30 because someone killed themsleves doing 100 on the wrong side of the road isnt actually changing anything for the better.


You may think I have gone off topic a bit here

but I see it as being the same,

you have laws to enforce but also make them reasoned and applied equally and highlight the obvious benefits and reward good behaviour in subtle ways

- ie once recycvling is doing everything it can then the savings can be returned to the taxpayer rather than just be spent on some grandiose project.


If fines were only spent on the cause of that penalty people wouild not grumble so all road fines spent on roads and only roads, all monies from fines for dumping spent on cleaning (and have it writ large on the council dustcarts how much and where the money goes) and so on.


just remembered the same of the glass made from rubbish, it was silceram. Look it up. People are still experimenting with it.

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wasnt a sudden decision, China made it law and well known over a year ago, this is just the implementation date. They will still take plastic and other materials but they will have to be properly sorted and certified and that makes it uneconomic for most stuff.

There are companies that make building blocks out of pressed mixed plastics for constructing housing in disaster areas, Mexico is using a scheme for cheap housing for the poor, they can build a lego like house for about £300.

The other recent bit of reportage shows that 90% of the oceans plastic comes from 10 rivers in the developing world with the Ganges being the worst (or second worst).

The worlds population is increasing with a birth rate of double its death rate. This is the real problem, the planet can only support around 5 billuion people and look after them and the current population is over 7 billion. Something has got to happen at both ends

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Two Belgian researchers, looking at the amount of microplastics in some shellfish, concluded in 2014 that the average European seafood consumer could be eating 11,000 microplastics every year.

re that claim, this was the beebs 'reality check' article take on it





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