The one thing we humans have done is an incredible job of leaving behind is plastic. Microplastics, in particular, are seagulls everywhere: in sea turtles, table salt, and even beer. Now, a new study offers that microplastics may be infiltrating our groundwater supply, too. Illinois-based researchers found that microplastics in springs and two aquifers in the state.
This latest study, published in the journal Groundwater last week, claims to be the first to find microplastics in fractured limestone aquifers, which make up about a quarter of the drinking water supply worldwide. Because of their geology, these aquifers are highly porous, so they can easily absorb water from the surface above-and all that comes with it. The team of researchers from the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center and Loyola University Chicago collected 11 groundwater samples from Aquifer near St. Louis and six more from Aquifer in northwestern Illinois.
Only one sample came back microplastic-free. The researchers speculate the tiny plastic fibers.
Previous and next news: Several parts of tiny plastic fibers have been released as a key source of microplastic pollution. In this latest study, the highest concentration of plastics found in a sample was around 15 particles per liter.
Not enough data on microplastics in groundwater exists for scientists to say this is a lot. Plus, we do not know much about the impacts of microplastics on our bodies, so there's no concentration that's deemed unsafe or illegal. "
" The research on this topic is at a very early stage, "I am not convinced we Tim Hoellein, a professor of biology at Loyola University of Chicago and co-author of the new study, said in a press release. "Our questions are still basic: How much is there, and where is it coming from?"
These researchers did not just discover microplastics in the water.
A study out earlier in this year found some microplastics in groundwater, but not enough to raise any alarms. Last year, a separate study warned that the impacts of microplastics on land-based ecosystems, including soils and freshwater, may be just as harmful as impacts in the ocean.
This new study is just about to be released. And they're just making their way back to us.