A recent study conducted by Orb Media, a US-based non-profit media collective, involved researchers of the State University of New York in Fredonia testing more than 250 bottles of water across 11 brands sold in nine countries, including Brazil, China, India, Indonesia and Thailand. The results showed that 93% of the samples tainted with minute plastic particles.

While the study has not been published in a journal and has not been through scientific peer review, the World Health Organization (WHO) expressed concern on this matter. A spokesperson told The Guardian that the WHO would “review the very scarce available evidence with the objective of identifying evidence gaps, and establishing a research agenda to inform a more thorough risk assessment.”

"The public are obviously going to be concerned about whether this is going to make them sick in the short term and the long term," said Bruce Gordon, coordinator of the WHO’s global work on water and sanitation.

Singapore reaffirms safety of their bottled drinking water

Although Singapore was not one of the test markets, but several of the brands tested positive with plastic particles are widely sold in Singapore. This raised concerns on the safety of consuming bottled water.

The Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) tested some samples of bottled drinking water sold in Singapore and so far, have found them to meet its safety standards.

Furthermore, the AVA stated that they adopt a risk-based approach in ensuring food safety.

“Food available in our market, including bottled water, are subjected to inspection, sampling and surveillance to ensure compliance with our food safety standards and requirements,” said a spokesperson from the AVA.

Mineral and drinking water that is packaged or bottled abroad must be accompanied with a certificate of analysis to indicate that the product is safe for consumption. For new brands, licensed importers must submit a certificate of authenticity for the source.

For locally packaged or bottled drinking water, licensed manufacturers are subjected to regular inspections to ensure the adherence of good manufacturing practices.

The AVA said that it will follow up on international scientific developments on the issue of microplastics and conduct its own risk assessment. It will implement appropriate measures to safeguard the health of consumers when necessary.

Response from Dasani

“All our Dasani products sold in Singapore are packaged in and imported from Malaysia, and they comply fully with all laws and regulations in Singapore, including the Sale of Food Act,” said a spokesman for Coca-Cola, which owns the Dasani brand, one of the brands tested positive in the Orb Media study.

"The quality of our products and safety of our consumers are of paramount importance to us and we take them extremely seriously. We stand by the safety of our products, and welcome continued study of plastics in our environment." MIMS

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