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A study of microplastic particles in danish tap water

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Microplastics (MPs) are omnipresent in our surroundings and in the environment, with drinking water being a potential pathway for human exposure. This study investigated the presence of MPs in Danish drinking water from 17 different households and workplaces in Denmark. Samples of tap water were collected using a closed sampling system to decrease airborne contamination, and QA/QC measurements were performed to assess background contamination. Particles >100 μm were visually analysed by stereomicroscopy in combination with spectroscopy analysis (μ-FTIR) to evaluate morphology and chemical composition. An assessment of MP particles down to 10 μm was performed on water samples from three locations using hyperspectral image analysis. The results indicate a low level of MPs in Danish drinking water, with a total of seven MP particles across all samples, comprising PET, PP, PS, and ABS. Microfibers were the most common type of MP-like particles in both drinking water and blanks, but the concentration for all samples was below the limit of detection and could not be differentiated from background contamination. Most of the particles analysed by μ-FTIR were identified as cellulose fibres and a smaller subset as protein. Based on this work, we discuss the status of MP drinking water studies and address challenges and limitations regarding the analysis of MP in drinking water.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2097
JournalWater (Switzerland)
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 by the authors.

    Research areas

  • Drinking water, Microplastic, Polymer identification, QA/QC, μ-FTIR Imaging

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