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Here's how to prevent microplastics from being released into the water

November 06, 2021
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Here's how to prevent microplastics from being released into the water

What to use to prevent containers and kettles from releasing the dreaded microplastics into the water? The answer is, tap water! In fact, tap water prevents the household appliances it comes into contact with from releasing microplastics, as emerges from a very recent scientific research that will be published in January in the Chemical Engineering Journal by a team from the SFI Center for Advanced Materials and Bioengineering Research, Trinity College Dublin, and University College Dublin (Shi et al, Chemical Engineering Journal, 2022).

The problem of microplastics

Plastic bottles and containers, kettles and teapots can release microplastics, which in turn can be ingested by people. Studies have observed that microplastics can increase inflammation levels in the body. Chronic inflammation is the main cause, in the long term, of an increased risk of developing diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity and cellular degeneration. Not only that, microplastics are also capable of increasing the oxidative stress of the body with possible damage to the tissues. But how to prevent these objects from releasing microplastics to the food and drinks they come into contact with? Certainly one solution is to opt for other types of materials such as glass. Sometimes, however, it is not possible to choose different alternatives. For example, if the kettle at home is made of plastic, what should we do?

The solution is given by tap water

The research we are talking about today states that tap water, coming into contact with plastic bottles or kettles, prevents these from releasing microplastics. The merit is all in the minerals and trace elements present in tap water, capable of creating a protective film on the container or appliance and thus preventing the release of toxic microplastics. Until now, laboratory tests had been performed on samples of pure water, which however exists only in the laboratory. These experiments had observed how plastic containers release their microplastics to water. In reality, however, the water is not pure, but thanks to the presence of impurities it creates a coating that prevents the container from degrading and releasing microplastics. For example, as the study author himself indicates, the dark color that can be seen inside the kettle is a good indicator. In fact, the dark color is given by the copper oxide that is formed from the copper contained in tap water that in turn comes from the pipes of the house. This offers protection to the kettle.


Here is another proof that nature alone is able to offer the solution to modern problems that are causing much concern. In addition, this research paves the way for the introduction of new coatings for plastic containers and appliances that can be applied during production without waiting for the cover to form naturally and thus making these products safer.

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