Even Groundwater Is Contaminated With Microplastics

©. Fred Zwicky – Illinois Sustainable Technology Center researcher John Scott is part of a team of researchers who are among the first to explore microplastic contamination in groundwater systems.

This could mean we're drinking our plastic waste.

It seems that no part of the planet is safe from the scourge that is microplastics. Not only are they found floating in the air and in deep ocean trenches, but now a来自伊利诺伊大学的学习has found that underground aquifers, which supply one-quarter of the world's population with drinking water, are contaminated, too.

The researchers took 17 groundwater samples from wells and springs. As apress releaseexplains, 11 came from a highly fractured limestone aquifer near the St. Louis metropolitan area and six from an aquifer containing much smaller fractures in rural northwestern Illinois.

Every samples but one contained microplastic particles, with a maximum concentration of 15 particles per litre. These concentrations are said to be comparable to those of surface water concentrations found in the rivers and streams in the Chicago area.

地下含水层如何受污染?Study co-author John Scott explained that "groundwater flows through the cracks and voids in limestone, sometimes carrying sewage and runoff from roads, landfills and agricultural areas into the aquifers below."

Because the samples also contained traces of pharmaceuticals and other household contaminants, it seems likely that the particles originated in household septic systems. In Scott's words,

"Imagine how many thousands of polyester fibers find their way into a septic system from just doing a load of laundry. Then consider the potential for those fluids to leak into the groundwater supply, especially in these types of aquifers where surface water interacts so readily with groundwater."

The researchers say that the findings cannot be interpreted in great detail, as there is very little data on microplastics in groundwater. Yessenia Funeswrote for Earther, "We still don’t know much about the impacts of microplastics on our bodies, so there’s no concentration that’s deemed unsafe or illegal."

Tim Hoellein, biology professor and study co-authorsaid,

"I am not convinced we have a frame of reference to state expectations or bounds on what is considered low or high levels. Our questions are still basic – how much is there and where is it coming from?"

关于在一杯水中饮用塑料废物的想法深感令人不安。yabo彩票它可以展示地球的系统如何深表互联,以及如何“离开”;只是因为浪费看不见并不意味yabo彩票着它不在那里,它会回来困扰我们。

It's more important than ever to support research in this area and to take personal steps to minimize our impact, whether it's buying all-natural fabrics instead of synthetics, washing clothes less frequently, taking steps to capture microfiber waste in the washing machine, and hang-drying.