When you guzzle bottled water, you might be getting more than just H2O. An analysis of 259 bottles of water from 11 brands in nine countries (including the United States) found that 93% contained microplastics—tiny bits of plastic resulting from the breakdown of plastic materials in landfills and oceans. Levels of microplastics were about double what was found in tap water tested from various countries, according to the analysis. The study was conducted by the State University of New York and Orb Media, a nonprofit, U.S.-based journalism organization.

It’s unclear what effect, if any, microplastics have on human health. There are no standards for safe limits in bottled water. You can play it safe and opt out of plastic bottled water by using refillable bottles filled with ye olde tap water.

Matthew Kadey, MS, RD

Matthew Kadey, MS, RD, is a James Beard Award–winning food journalist, dietitian and author of the cookbook Rocket Fuel: Power-Packed Food for Sport + Adventure (VeloPress 2016). He has written for dozens of magazines, including Runner’s World, Men’s Health, Shape, Men’s Fitness and Muscle and Fitness.

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