How To Clean Drinking Water Of Microplastics

How to Clean Drinking Water of Microplastics

How to Clean Drinking Water of Microplastics, Microplastics are one of the main environmental concerns right now, according to Microplastics have spread throughout the world and endanger any living things that consume them, whether they contaminate food, water, or even the air.

Groundwater has become an alarming victim of contamination as plastic consumption keeps rising, and there doesn’t seem to be much hope for change in the near future. Fortunately, drinking water can be filtered to eliminate the risk posed by microplastics.You can learn more about microplastics below, including what they are, how they enter groundwater, and how to get them out of drinking water.

How to Clean Drinking Water of Microplastics

How do microplastics work?

Microplastics are plastic fragments larger than 100 nanometers and smaller than 5 millimeters (0.0001 millimeters). They come from both products that intentionally contain microplastics and plastic products that degrade over time.

These goods include sparkly toothpaste, paint, tires, facial scrubs, synthetic clothing, and tea bags. Microplastic contaminants are also found in some foods and beverages. These consist of fresh produce, beer, fish, and bottled water.

The most prevalent type of debris in the oceans and Great Lakes is plastic, and it persists for a long time. Plastics generally do not biodegrade. Instead, they merely fragment into smaller pieces. Microplastics are particularly dangerous to life because they are difficult to excrete from the body.

What causes microplastics to enter water?

Any of the following methods can introduce microplastics into drinking water: 

  • Floor runoff
  • wastewater runoff
  • discarded, degraded plastic
  • Aerosol deposition
  • Water is kept in plastic

The most frequent sources of microplastic contamination in the United States are runoff and wastewater effluent. Plastics can enter groundwater through soil once they decompose to a small enough size because they do not biodegrade and get smaller over time.

Microplastics were found in two aquifers in Illinois in a study by the National Groundwater Association at a concentration of 15.2 particles per liter.

Microplastics: Are they harmful?

Yes, microplastics are harmful to the environment and to our bodies. Depending on the type of plastic the products contain, it may take dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of years for plastic products to decompose.

Microplastics have spread to every area of the world, even those that are uninhabited. Microplastics were first found by scientists in newly fallen snow in Antarctica in June 2022. Microplastics are so common that they have most likely already entered your body.

human health effects of microplastic

Microplastics harm cells and trigger inflammatory and immune responses in the body, according to studies like this review study by the Italian National Research Council. Additionally, they may cause symptoms like obesity, damage to the uterus, and a higher risk of developing cancer.

By consuming food, drinking water, and breathing in air, we raise microplastic contamination levels high enough to cause these side effects.

Microplastics’ impact on the human body is a recent development, so it is unclear from a scientific standpoint how they may affect health. The effects of ingesting microplastics on the human body over the long term are currently being investigated by researchers.

When it is practical, filtering water to remove microplastics is still advised because doing so can significantly lower your intake of microplastics and, as a result, be beneficial to your health.

How to check for microplastics in water

There is currently no way for a typical consumer to test their water at home for microplastics. While shipping your water to a lab for testing is an option, it is expensive and will almost certainly confirm that your water contains microplastics to some extent.

Regulations regarding microplastics in water are likely to be implemented as contamination with microplastics becomes more widespread. California became the first state to mandate microplastics testing in drinking water sources in September 2022. Beginning in the fall of 2023, these quarterly tests may inspire other states to adopt a similar policy.

Do bottled waters contain microplastics?

Yes, microplastics have been found in over 90% of samples from popular brands of bottled water. An investigation into the presence of microplastic in bottled water was done by a sustainability researcher at Penn State Behrend.

This study discovered an alarming amount of microplastics in bottled water. In this study and other university studies, the bottled water on average contained 325 plastic particles per liter of water.

10,000 particles per liter were present in one bottle of Nestle Pure Life. The World Health Organization declared that it would examine the safety issues with bottled water after this research was published.

How to get microplastics out of water for drinking

The best home filtration methods for removing microplastics from drinking water are reverse osmosis, distillation, and ultrafiltration.

Microplastics range in size from 100 nanometers to 5 millimeters, so to effectively reduce levels of microplastics of all sizes, a filter’s micron rating must be able to filter out contaminants between 100 nanometers and 5 millimeters.

A filter must have a micron rating of 0.1 to remove contaminants that are 100 nanometers in size because one micron is equal to 1000 nanometers. Water distillers separate microplastics from water during the distillation process, whereas reverse osmosis and ultrafiltration systems have micron ratings that can filter contaminants smaller than 100 nanometers.

Utilizing reverse osmosis to filter microplastics

High levels of microplastics and the majority of other contaminants can be effectively reduced by reverse osmosis (RO) systems in water. While some systems have four or five stages, most reverse osmosis systems only use three phases to filter water.

Water first passes through a sediment filter in an RO system. As the name implies, this phase lowers the concentrations of significant contaminants, including microscopic particles, rust, dirt, and sand.

In addition to filtering the water, this also keeps the contaminants from ultimately harming the reverse osmosis membrane. The water then passes through an activated carbon filter after passing through the sediment filter.

In this step, contaminants like chlorine that give water a bad taste and smell are removed. The reverse osmosis membrane is the third and final stage of a three-stage reverse osmosis system. Here, water is forced through a semi-permeable membrane while under pressure.

The majority of contaminants are removed from the water at this stage. The RO membrane has minuscule pores (0.001 microns in size) that let water flow through while flushing out tiny impurities like microplastics.

A carbon post-filter is sometimes included in reverse osmosis systems to polish the finished product and ensure clarity. A remineralizing filter can also be added to an RO system to restore beneficial minerals that were removed during the filtration process.

The advantages of reverse osmosis for microplastics are that it lowers the majority of contaminants’ levels.

  • length of time is more expensive to maintain than ultrafiltration.

Reverse osmosis for microplastics has drawbacks.

  • produces waste water at a slower installation rate than ultrafiltration.
  • Water pressure is necessary.

Pentair Freshpoint POU, 3-Stage, 50 GPD,

System RO: $461.52

Using water distillation to eliminate microplastics

Filters in the conventional sense are not what water distillers are. They boil the water, collect the resulting steam at the top of the distiller, and then cool it back down to liquid form rather than putting it through a filter medium.

Distilled water offers the purest water available because it evaporates at a lower temperature than most contaminants, including microplastics. To ensure that contaminated water does not affect the outcome of the test or procedure, some applications call for laboratories and hospitals to use distilled water.

Water distillers purify water much more slowly than conventional filters and need a constant energy source to run.

  • simple installation of a countertop
  • Almost all impurities in the water are removed.
  • more expensive than RO and ultrafiltration systems that are used at the point of use.

Water distillation for microplastics has drawbacks.

  • Electricity is used.
  • Only suitable for drinking water because it is slower than ultrafiltration and reverse osmosis.

Pure WaterTM SteamPure Countertop Water Distiller: $625.00


Device Only

Postfilters: with 6

Postfilters: with 12

using ultrafiltration to filter microplastics

A membrane with a pore size of 0.02 microns is used in ultrafiltration systems to filter water. The level of microplastics at this micron rating can be effectively reduced at all sizes. Ultrafiltration systems filter water through the membrane’s interior, as opposed to reverse osmosis, which pushes water through the membrane’s exterior.

Furthermore, unlike RO systems, ultrafiltration does not dispose of wastewater as it is being filtered. Reverse osmosis is frequently chosen over ultrafiltration in places like California, where there are water restrictions in place as a result of the drought.

Although reverse osmosis systems are better at removing some contaminants than ultrafiltration, they still leave behind fewer bacteria, viruses, lead, copper, cysts, and other impurities. Because minerals are left in the final product after ultrafiltration, some users may prefer the taste of the water.

Ultrafiltration benefits for microplastics

  • Rapid filtering rates (1 gallon per minute) keep beneficial minerals in the finished product.
  • easily installed and operated with little water pressure.
  • Is there no wastewater produced?

Ultrafiltration for microplastics has drawbacks.

  • brief lifespan
  • greater upkeep costs compared to RO and water distillation
  • There are fewer contaminants removed than with RO or water distillation.

Chrome faucet with Neo-Pure TL3-A502 ultrafiltration than with RO

Microplastics are removed by ceramic filters.

Microplastic concentrations in water can be decreased by using a ceramic filter with a micron rating of less than 2.5. The filter will be more successful at removing microplastics if its micron rating is lower. Reverse osmosis, water distillation, and ultrafiltration are better options than ceramic filters if microplastics in your water are a concern.

Are microplastics removed by refrigerator filters?

The majority of refrigerator filters have an activated carbon core that, through adsorption, lowers water contaminant levels. The typical refrigerator filter has a micron rating of 20, but some choices have much lower ratings.

For instance, a filter with a 5-micron rating will remove some types of microplastics from water but not others. You shouldn’t rely on a refrigerator filter for this task because reverse osmosis removes microplastics and nanoplastics much more effectively than a refrigerator filter.

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FAQ: How to Remove Microplastics from Drinking Water

How can microplastics in water be removed?

How can microplastics be removed from household tap water? The best faucet filters, like TAPP 2 and Carbon Blocks, completely eliminate all known microplastics. Filters for reverse osmosis: All known microplastics will be removed by filters that can filter down to 0.001 micron, but they are more expensive and need maintenance.

Are microplastics filtered out by Brita filters?

Basic water filters that use charcoal or simple carbon (like Brita®) only work to remove bad tastes and odors. Microplastics can pass right through these filters and into the water you’re drinking because they are unable to stop them from doing so.

“How are microplastics destroyed?

” To attack microplastics, we produce hydroxyl radicals using electrodes. According to Drogui, this process is environmentally friendly because it converts them into water and CO2 molecules, neither of which are harmful to the ecosystem.

How can you tell if your water contains microplastics?

Microscopic-sized samples can be examined using FTIR and Raman spectroscopy, respectively. Together, these methods produce complementary data that is more helpful than either method working independently. In light of this, vibrational spectroscopy has become an essential tool for identifying and analyzing microplastic particles.

Is there a water filter that can remove microplastics?

(1) Microplastics cannot pass through LifeStraw’s filter because of its proprietary membrane microfiltration technology, which filters to a size of 0.2 microns. Consequently, all LifeStraw products eliminate microplastics from water (5).

Can tap water be filtered to remove microplastics?

The majority of reverse osmosis water filters work by pushing water molecules through a semipermeable membrane to remove microplastics from water. The membrane is capable of purifying tap water because it can filter out plastic pollution and other impurities as small as 1 micron.

What are the top microplastics filtering technologies?

Due to its capacity to completely separate solids from water, a reverse osmosis filter—whose pore size is approximately 0.0001 micron—is by far the best way to remove microplastics (or anything else) from your drinking water.

Can microplastics be captured by coffee filters?

They fluctuate greatly in size, or the water’s color has changed due to the tea or coffee. This illustrates how, even if you filter some microplastics out of the water system, there is still a chance that some will get through.

Do all people contain microplastics?

Even though scientists have discovered microplastics deep within human lungs and even bloodstreams, experts maintain that more research is still required to fully comprehend the effects on human health. Microplastics appear to be present almost everywhere on Earth and in our bodies.

Which meals contain the most microplastics?

The two foods with the most microplastic particles are apples and carrots. Other crops, such as pears, broccoli, lettuce, potatoes, radishes, and turnips, did, however, contain microplastics. Microplastic-contaminated water is thought to be absorbed by plants through their roots, contaminating fruit and vegetables.

What is able to absorb microplastics?

For instance, recent studies have revealed that agricultural plants like wheat can absorb microplastics. German scientists have demonstrated, as part of an interdisciplinary project, that longer-lived woody plants, particularly birch trees (Betula), can absorb and store microplastics in their tissue.

Is it possible to stay away from microplastics?

Read labels and stay away from products that cause microplastic runoff. Despite the fact that microbeads have been prohibited since 2015, microplastics are still present in many skincare, toothpaste, and cosmetic products. Shop around and avoid purchasing items made with these plastics: Polythelene.

Do we expel microplastics when we poop?

According to a small pilot study that was published in Environmental Science & Technology Letters, scientists have now discovered synthetic materials in baby poop. According to Justine Calma for the Verge, the amount of microplastics in baby poop was ten times higher based on body weight than that of adults.

How many microplastics are present in tap water?

According to the study, microplastics were present in 81 percent of the tap water samples as well as all of the salt and beer brands that were examined.

Can water samples be tested for microplastics?

A significant step toward controlling the minute pieces that are all around us in the environment was taken today when California’s water regulators approved the first standards in the world for testing for microplastics in sources of drinking water.