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Current Levels Of Micro-plastics In Bottled Water Not A Health Risk: WHO

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The World Health Organization said the current levels of microplastics in drinking water do not appear to pose health risks.

The UN health agency reached this conclusion in its first report on the issue on the basis of the finding that larger and micro plastic particles pass through the human body without being absorbed.

However, since the findings were based on "limited information", WHO called for further study of microplastics in the environment and their potential impacts on human health.

"We urgently need to know more about the health impact of microplastics because they are everywhere - including in our drinking-water," said Dr Maria Neira, Director, Department of Public Health, Environment and Social Determinants of Health, at WHO.

Releasing the report titled "Microplastics in drinking-water", she said, "Based on the limited information we have, microplastics in drinking water don't appear to pose a health risk at current levels. But we need to find out more."

Studies reporting the presence of microplastics in treated tap and bottled water have raised questions and concerns about their impact on human health.

Microplastics, defined as small pieces of any kind of plastic debris that are less than 5mm in length, have been found in rivers, lakes, drinking water supplies, and in bottled water.

According to WHO fact sheet, bottled water and tap water, supplied without adequate sewage treatment, will contain microbial pathogens and other chemicals. These particles pose greater human health concern than microplastics, such as causing deadly diarrhoeal diseases.

WHO urged drinking-water suppliers and government bodies that regulate them to prioritize removing microbial pathogens and chemicals.

A significant proportion of the global population currently does not benefit from adequate water and sewage treatment, the UN agency said.

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