Live from Geneva: WHO calls for more research on microplastics in drinking water. Q&A with Bruce Gordon. #AskWHO https://www.pscp.tv/w/cC5EijI2MTAyMHwxUkRHbHZBcmd6TnhMGJMyOfODSQZifvNsH2p2KvC7QCgG6cK8DWIP1kiI7Hw= …
WHO calls for more research into microplastics and a crackdown on plastic pollution
August 22, 2019, (Geneva) The World Health Organization (WHO) today calls for a further assessment of microplastics in the environment and their potential impacts on human health, following the release of an analysis of current research related to microplastics in drinking-water. The Organization also calls for a reduction in plastic pollution to benefit the environment and reduce human exposure.
Please note: A report is found at the bottom of this posting
“We urgently need to know more about the health impact of microplastics because they are everywhere – including in our drinking-water,” says Dr Maria Neira, Director, Department of Public Health, Environment and Social Determinants of Health, at WHO. “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. We also need to stop the rise in plastic pollution worldwide.”
According to the analysis, which summarizes the latest knowledge on microplastics in drinking-water, microplastics larger than 150 micrometres are not likely to be absorbed in the human body and uptake of smaller particles is expected to be limited. Absorption and distribution of very small microplastic particles including in the nano size range may, however, be higher, although the data is extremely limited.
WHO recommends drinking-water suppliers and regulators prioritize removing microbial pathogens and chemicals that are known risks to human health, such as those causing deadly diarrhoeal diseases. This has a double advantage: wastewater and drinking-water treatment systems that treat faecal content and chemicals are also effective in removing microplastics.
Wastewater treatment can remove more than 90% of microplastics from wastewater, with the highest removal coming from tertiary treatment such as filtration. Conventional drinking-water treatment can remove particles smaller than a micrometre. A significant proportion of the global population currently does not benefit from adequate water and sewage treatment. By addressing the problem of human exposure to faecally contaminated water, communities can simultaneously address the concern related to microplastics.