Researchers at SUNY Fredonia studied bottled water from around the world and found 93 percent contains some signs of microplastic contamination. Much of that contamination, researchers explained, likely comes from the process of bottling the water.
The study tested 259 individual bottles from 11 different brands. The water was purchased in nine countries around the world.
It looked at popular brands of water including Aquafina, Dasani and Nestle Pure Life.
Researchers found, on average, about 10 larger plastic particles (wider than the width of a hair) in every liter of bottled water. Including smaller particles, there are an average of 325 pieces of plastic per liter.
Those smaller pieces aren't visible to the naked eye.
"They're more concerning when it comes to the science," Dr. Sherri Mason, chemistry professor and chair of SUNY Fredonia's Department of Geology and Environment Sciences, explained. "Those are the particles that can make their way across your gastrointestinal tract, be translocated throughout your body and end up in your various organs."
Dr. Mason recommends using tap water, so long as there aren't any other health risks to do so in your particular community.
The study did not focus on the human health impact, but rather on learning how much plastic could be found in bottled water.
The project was coordinated by Orb Media, a non-profit journalism organization. You can read more details about the findings here.
The most common polymer in the larger pieces of plastic found in the study was polypropylene, a common plastic used in bottle caps.
The International Bottle Water Association released a statement in response to the study. It says the research "is not based on sound science".
"Consumers can remain confident that bottled water products, like all food and beverages, are strictly regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and, thus, are safe for consumption," the statement reads. "The bottled water industry is committed to providing consumers with the safest and highest quality products."