Scientists used a novel microscope technology to analyze bottled water — and they found an alarming amount of contaminants

It seems the obsessive-compulsive TV detective Adrian Monk may have been right to be concerned about what’s in the water that we drink. 

As the show’s theme song goes, “It’s a-ma-zing.” 

As it turns out, alarming might be the better word for it, per a report from Columbia Mailman School of Public Health. Researchers used a new microscopic method to study the nanoplastics in popular bottled water brands. The findings suggest that every gulp we take may be introducing thousands of tiny particles into our bodies. 

“It’s not size that matters. It’s the numbers, because the smaller things are, the more easily they can get inside us,” Columbia biophysicist Wei Min said in the university summary. 

What’s happening? 

The breakthrough technique uses lasers to look for plastic particles. The researchers, including an expert from Rutgers, found that a liter of water could contain 240,000 “detectable” fragments. Astoundingly, that is 10 to 100 times more than what the experts thought would be there, per the research. 

The plastics being detected are particularly troublesome because of their size — pieces tinier than a micrometer. Columbia’s team said that a human hair, for example, is 70 micrometers across.

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