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Microplastic in bottled natural mineral water - literature review and considerations on exposure and risk assessment

: Welle, Frank; Franz, Roland


Food additives and contaminants. Pt.A, Chemistry, analysis, control, exposure & risk assessment 35 (2018), No.12, pp.2482-2492
ISSN: 1944-0057
ISSN: 1944-0049
Journal Article
Fraunhofer IVV ()

Microplastics have been ubiquitously found and identified in aquatic and terrestrial environments for several years. Due to their occurrence in the oceans, microplastics were also found and characterised in seafood products and in other foods and beverages such as beer, honey and table salt. Very recently, microplastic particles were also determined in bottled mineral water. The objective of this publication is to present and discuss a compilation of the currently available literature data on microplastics in bottled mineral water. The related oral exposure of the consumer from substances present in microplastics and from the plastics particles themselves is estimated and toxicological arguments for and considerations on risk assessment from the consumption of bottled mineral water containing microplastics are presented. Exposure estimations based on the reported microplastic amounts found in mineral water and the assumption of total mass transfer of small molecules like additives and oligomers present in the plastic would not raise a safety concern. Available toxicokinetic data suggests that marginal fraction of the ingested low amount of microplastics can be absorbed, if at all, the conclusion is very likely that the reported amounts present in bottled mineral water do not raise a safety concern for the consumer. Considering the use of plastic materials in our daily life, occurrence of microplastics in beverages is likely a minor exposure pathway for plastic particles. Due to recent progress in analytical methods and the public discussion on plastics marine litter, public concern about eating and drinking microplastics with food, and related safety issues was raised. However, a better data basis for exposure estimates and risk assessment would be very helpful to better accommodate consumer concerns. The intention of this paper is to deliver a contribution to this topic taking the bottled mineral water as a case example.