Microplastics in drinking water is likely not harmful to people, World Health Organization says

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2019/08/22/microplastics-in-drinking-is-l.html


This is a more exact image of microplastics. The image supplied is not.
But filter your H2o, or else.


My concern for ingesting microplastics is pretty low down the list of immediate environmental concerns right now, given all the environapocalyses going on. (I’m somewhat concerned about animals starving themselves by eating plastic instead of food, though.) At the moment, the world is (fairly literally) on fire.

What’s going on in the Amazon alone is about the reach the point where we’re all totally fucked if it continues. We’ve got 75,000 separate fires raging in the forest so far this year, with thousands raging right now. Apparently within 10 years we’re looking at hitting a tipping point, where there will be sufficient loss of forest to change the local climate, eliminating the rain that sustains the forest. At which point the rest of the forest will quickly go away, releasing CO2 equivalent to the last 140 years of human activity. There won’t be any point in even trying for carbon reductions at that point.

The filter also is plastic…


not nearly as dangerous as the huge quantities of dihydrogen monoxide found in all drinking water.


Well this calls for a celebration! I’ll buy the first round of drinks.


1.5 oz. vodka
0.5 oz. peach schnapps
1.5 oz. cranberry juice
0.5 oz. chambord
1 tsp. assorted microplastics

Add all ingredients into a shaker with ice and shake. Wet the rim of a highball glass and dust with microplastics. Strain into the glass—be sure to use a coarse strainer so that all the microplastics make it into the drink. Add lime juice and microplastics to taste. Serve over ice.


At current levels. What about in 100 years?

Sadly we will all be dead in 100 years. And I don’t mean us having this conversation. I mean humans.


Especially with a little help from a little plastic. Or rather, a lot of little plastic.

We’ve been hitting major tipping points for the last 20 years. :roll_eyes:


This one is more dramatic than most, and ends up trigger a bunch of other tipping points. And all those previous tipping points have made everything more brittle, prone to spectacular failure states…


Currently, if all the plastic that has been manufactured since the 50’s were spread out evenly over the ENTIRE LANDMASS of the world, it would be .004" thick - everywhere. (kinda like a medium-heavy zip-lock baggie)

Based on manufacturing estimates, it could be .0075" thick in 10 years. Yeah, almost double.

Another factoid:
The current yearly production of just polyethylene (again, zip-lock baggie) is enough to build a Trumpian Wall 10 feet wide and 20 feet tall ACROSS THE UNITED STATES from CA to DC

And that wall would be really slick - too hard to climb!

Lovely, just lovely.

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Also, microplastics have been found in the high mountains of Colorado in snow.



Till Deer: The only way you are getting enough microplastics in your water to be dangerous is if you are also getting turds in your water, because you are one of the three billion people who have facebook but no water treatment.

Take Away: whenever someone you care about becomes stressed about a new environmental problem, remind them that roughly half of humans still shit directly into the river.

So this study is apparently talking about solid particles. Now what about when we use the water for cooking? Some plastics release carcinogenic substances when melted (e.g. PVC releases vinyl chloride).

Micro plastic particles can also be tiny mobile homes for bacteria and they’re now commonly found within the flesh of fish. Sleep well!

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Alternate version: Sex on the Late Anthropocene Beach.

Directions: As above, but omit the ice.

There’s also some evidence they might help accumulate toxins as well. But I’m already so full of flame retardants, heavy metals, plastic softeners and rocket fuel…

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Hey WHO, what about long term effects?

Hey, Dr. Breen was right! We are on track to leave behind “a broken layer of plastic shards sandwiched between the Burgess Shale and an aeon’s worth of mud”!