By Thierry Malleret, economist

Microplastic contamination is going to be the next big story in pollution… and have a profound impact on wellness.

A new study based on global tap water samples has revealed that 83 percent of samples are contaminated with plastic fibers. The U.S. has the highest contamination rate, at 83 percent, followed by Lebanon and India. European countries have the lowest rate, but still high at 72 percent. The average number of fibers found in each water sample of 500 ml. ranged from 4.8 in the U.S. to 1.9 in Europe.

Science is not capable yet of evaluating the possible health impacts, but fibers the size of a nanometer could penetrate a cell, and therefore, an organ. Some samples of fibers were also found in bottled water, suggesting it might not provide a healthy alternative to tap water.

What is certain is that, over the coming years, consumers who care about their health will become increasingly discerning about the quality of the water they drink. They will also not want to see an abundance of plastic in their immediate environment.

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