Source: Science Daily
Researchers from Washington State University (WSU) have concluded that nanoscale plastic particles tend to move through the water supply, particularly in fresh water, or settle in wastewater treatment plants, ending up as sludge, in landfills, or as fertilizer. Publishing in the journal Water Research, the team has been looking at what happens to nanoplastics that make their way into the aquatic environment.
“We are drinking lots of plastics,” says lead author Indranil Chowdhury, an assistant professor in WSU’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. “We are drinking almost a few grams of plastics every month or so. That is concerning because you don’t know what will happen after 20 years.” Chowdury says that a recent study has shown that more than 90 percent of tap water in the U.S. contains nanoplastics.
The scientists studied what’s happening to nanoparticles of polyethylene and polystyrene—plastics found in countless everyday products such as plastic bags, personal care products, drinking cups and packaging material. “Our drinking water plants are not sufficient at removing these micro and nanoscale plastics,” Chowdhury says. “We’re finding these plastics in the drinking water but we don't know why.”
The team has now received a grant from the State of Washington Water Research Center to study techniques for removing these plastics from water.
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