Bottled water isn't just surrounded by plastic, it's permeated with it, according to a new study. Researchers at the State University of New York tested 259 bottles of water bought in nine countries, including the US, and found that 93% of them were contaminated with tiny plastic particles, the Guardian reports. The team says they found an average 10.4 pieces of plastic at least the size of a hair per liter. An average of 314 smaller particles per liter were also believed to be plastic. Some bottles had thousands of particles. The researchers say that despite some bottled water brands being marketed as purer, contamination was around double that found in an earlier study on microplastic contamination of tap water.
Researchers, who used dye to detect the particles, say there are many ways the microplastics could have entered the water, including from the plastic bottle tops. The health implications of consuming microplastics are still unclear, though researchers warn that they can absorb harmful chemicals. "If you've ever had chili or spaghetti and you put it in Tupperware, and you can't scrub the orange color out, that's a manifestation of how plastics absorb oily chemicals," Max Liboiron of the Civic Laboratory for Environmental Action Research tells the CBC. The World Health Organization says it plans to review the possible risks of consuming microplastics, the BBC reports. (The particles are making young fish slower and stupider.)