Prevalence of microplastics in commercially sold soft drinks and human risk assessment
Due to the increasing global plastic production and use in recent years, the amount of microplastic (MP) accumulating in the environment has also increased. This microplastic pollution potential has been documented mostly in studies of the sea or seafood. The presence of microplastics in terrestrial foods has therefore attracted less attention, despite the potential for future major environmental risks. Some of these researches are related to bottled water, tap water, honey, table salt, milk, and soft drinks. However, the presence of microplastics in soft drinks has not yet been evaluated in the European continent, including Türkiye. Hence, the current study focused on the presence and distribution of microplastics in ten soft drink brands in Türkiye since the water utilized in the bottling process of soft drinks originates from different water supply sources. Using FTIR stereoscopy and stereomicroscope examination, MPs were detected in all of these brands. According to the microplastic contamination factor (MPCF) classification, 80% of the soft drink samples indicated a high level of contamination with microplastics. The study’s findings showed that each liter of consumed soft drinks exposes people to about nine microplastic particles, which is a moderate dose when compared to exposure levels in earlier research. It has been determined that bottle-production processes and the substrates used for food production may be the main sources of these microplastics. The chemical components of these microplastic polymers were polyamide (PA), polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and polyethylene (PE), and fibers were the dominant shape. Compared to adults, children were subjected to higher microplastic loads. The study’s preliminary data on MP contamination of soft drinks may be useful for further evaluating the risks exposure to microplastics poses to human health.
Authors: Abdullah Altunışık
; Full Source: Journal of environmental management 2023 Mar 10;336:117720. doi: 10.1016/j.jenvman.2023.117720.