Microplastics in Bottled Water & Sea Salt

Is it true that there are bits of plastic in drinking water and specialty salts? How concerned should I be?
Reviewed and edited by Tod Cooperman, M.D. Tod Cooperman, M.D.
Microplastics in water, plastic bottle of water pouring water into glass
Due to manufacturing and pollution, it is true that tiny fragments and fibers of plastic, known as microplastics, are being found in foods and beverages such as sea salt, Himalayan salt, tap and bottled waters, and beers. Although it's not yet clear what effects they have on human health, it may be best to try to avoid exposure where possible. See the full answer to find out the concentrations of microplastic fragments in different salts, waters, and types of beer.

Learn More About Microplastics:

I'm interested in using Himalayan salt. What are the health benefits with it and other specialty salts? Are there contaminants in these salts? >>

Do water filters remove microplastics from tap water? >>

See other recent and popular questions >>

George18557   October 24, 2019
What about plastic storage containers that we buy specifically for food storage? I'm thinking in particular about my round Glad® and Ziplock® containers--containers that I've used for years to store and re-heat casseroles and other food items. I would prefer glass, but it's too heavy, not to mention the problem of having to worry about breakage, either from mishandling, or from overfilling due to freezing.
I'm wondering if the repeated--dozens and dozens--of freezing/reheating cycles would not necessarily degrade the plastic surface to where it is releasing large amounts of microparticles. These are all polypropylene (recycle code 5.)
I notice a "short communication" just last month in the journal Science of The Total Environment, by Hwang, et al,, regarding polypropylene: "The accumulation of microplastic particles in humans has potential health risks such as cytotoxicity, hypersensitivity, unwanted immune response, and acute response like hemolysis. We investigated the cellular responses of secondary polypropylene microplastics (PP particles) of approximately ~20?µm and 25–200?µm in different condition and size to normal cells, immune cells, blood cells, and murine immune cells by cytokine analysis, ROS assay, polarization assay and proliferation assay. We found that PP particles showed low cytotoxicity effect in size and concentration manner, however, a high concentration, small sized, DMSO method of PP particles stimulated the immune system and enhanced potential hypersensitivity to PP particles."
Should I trash all of those things (saving a few, though, for storage of solids)?   October 24, 2019
We are not aware of research on this, but the issue with water bottle caps, which get repeatedly screwed on and off and cause the shearing of plastic, is probably different (and likely more problematic) than the effect of snapping a plastic top on and off.

B19038   January 24, 2020
To add to my comments--- This is why we consumers especially need places like Consumer Lab and a few others who are knowledgeable and test what we use and eat. Thank you Consumer Lab !

Deborah18546   October 17, 2019
Does this micro-plastics problem of re-use apply to hard plastic bottles, like Nalgene?   October 21, 2019
Hi Deborah - We are not aware of any studies investigating microplastic contamination from Nalgene.

David18544   October 16, 2019
I'm concerned about the reusable plastic containers in Soda Stream and NutriBullet type products. They are intended to be used multiple times which I've always considered to be more environmentally friendly than single use plastic but is there a difference in the amount of particles??

John18511   October 13, 2019
This is unfortunate, but I'm glad that I am now aware of micro-plastics in drinking water.
I filter my own water at home and bring it to the gym, and hiking. I have been re-using plastic bottles, but it appears that is no longer safe. Stainless steel seems a bit heavy especially since I typically drink 1/2 gallon at the gym. How are other people transporting water on hikes and other physical activities?

Richard18528   October 15, 2019
The Steel and aluminum water bottles I've seen are lined with a plastic coating. The best water bottle I've found are plastic with a glass like lining; a thin, flexible coating of silicon dioxide is electrostaticly deposited on the inside of the plastic bottle. The only brand I know is the Specialized Purist line of water bottle. And even then the lids and mouthpiece are ordinary plastic.

Eric18474   October 2, 2019
As far as microplastics in beer, I think more people should be aware that when you buy beer in an aluminum can, you are buying beer in plastic. Aluminum cans have a plastic coating inside to protect the contents from reacting with the metal. That's not the only way for microplastics to get into your beer, but buying in glass vs a plastic-lined can is the one source of contamination you have any control over

Don18502   October 13, 2019
The CL article doesn't mention the other payload you get from having ingestible in plastic. In response to the BPA controversy a lot of products and container liners were changed to a "BPA-Free" plastic. CertiChem Labs tested these new plastic formulations and found them to also contain chemicals which caused the same issues behind the BPA controversy - some were even worse than BPA. A plastics company sued and silenced CertiChem, but their work is available. Bottom line: not only do you get micro plastics but also hormone disruption.....   October 15, 2019
Hi Don - Thanks for writing about this. We checked out the related article (, which, as you note, indicates the presence of hormone disruptors in samples of various plastic containers (after bits of the plastic were cut off and treated with alcohol or salt water to help extract the compounds), although the study does not evaluate the impact on people. Nevertheless, it does make the point that a variety of compounds in plastics should be considered by consumers using plastic containers.

Gloria18516   October 14, 2019
What about Coca-Cola in cans?   October 14, 2019
Hi Gloria - We aren't aware of any studies measuring microplastics in soda or soda cans/bottles.

Richard18529   October 15, 2019
The aluminum bottles are plastic lined. May produce micro-plastics. Await studies.

Joann18018   June 11, 2019
How do we get clean, good for you, water? Is there an in home system?

Gregory18015   June 10, 2019
Do water filters like Brita, Pur or the more expensive in-line ones do a good job of filtering out microplastics? I know the pitcher variety don't do much because there's not enough force being provided by gravity to get through a good filter, but the on-tap and in-line filters are much better if you have reasonable water pressure.   June 12, 2019
Hi Joann and Gregory -- We've now answered your questions here

Joann18029   June 12, 2019
Thank you for your answer. Keep us apprised on how to get clean water.   June 12, 2019
You're welcome Joann!

Raymond 18012   June 10, 2019
I drink distilled water. If one's reaction is: "No, you're not getting minerals" then you are repeating an old wive's tale, as 1. In order to get sufficient minerals from water, you'd have to drink some 100 gallons/day, and 2. The 'minerals' you're getting in water is dirt/impurities and of no positive health benefit.
The problem is that my distilled water is in plastic bottles. I would be best served by distilling my own.
It makes sense for CL to test distilled water as plastic/synthetics from the underlying water source would be eliminated and the transfer of particles from the plastic bottle itself could be analyzed.

Joseph18499   October 13, 2019
I have been drinking distilled water for more than 20 years. I started with a couple of home distillers, and now I use an Ellis water machine which super distills the water to as pure as it can be purified and makes a gallon per hour, pouring the water into a gallon glass jug. Well worth the money for the machine.

Clinton18524   October 15, 2019
II use to drink distilled water until read a scientific article, a number of years ago, that related to an investigation by a Japanese Scientist, that drinking distilled water ruptured red blood cells. I read this article so many years ago, that unfortunately, I am unable to site the source.

C. Blumer, APRN, CRNA (retired).   October 15, 2019
Hi Clinton - You may be confusing this with the fact that, in a test tube, red blood cells will swell and rupture in distilled water. But this does not happen when people drink normal amounts of distilled water.

Clinton18549   October 19, 2019
I have not been pleased with either the PUR or the Brita water filters that can be connected to the faucet. I am currently using the large counter top water dispenser with a water dispensing spigot that comes with water testing gauges that i have been very satisfied with.

Joann18011   June 10, 2019
What is the best way to get drinking water? There is arsenic in well water, micro plastics in bottled water, and you certainly would not want to drink the water in So. Cal from the tap. I wonder about the filters in our Reverse Osmosis.. Recommend any filtration systems?

MARY JO18276   September 1, 2019
I have a reverse osmosis system. i have it maintained every year. have had it for over 20 years. This confirms what I have always known. i even used the meter on this water that comes out of this thing in my sink. when its time for maintenance i will get "particles of 1 to 6" readout. Get a system, it will cost you about 6000 for a whole house water conditioner and a reverse osmosis system that is put under your kitchen sink, but it is worth it. For what price is your health worth?

Carol18504   October 13, 2019
I have a reverse osmosis under sink filter and maintain it every year. Water tastes as good as bottled water. Have had it for years. Love it.

JN18514   October 13, 2019
Yes, an RO system beats city water but there are some downsides.
Depending on the quality of incoming water, the amount of reject, that is, the portion of water that contains constituents andt does not pass through the membrane, can easily be above 30%. If you live in TX like me, water is very expensive.
The quality of incoming water also will determine how quickly the membrane becomes fouled and will require a chemical cleaning.
Just my two cents.

Janet18523   October 14, 2019
I have been using a reverse osmosis system since the early 1980s. I get one every time we move. May not be perfect but the water tastes sweet (unlike the strong taste of chlorine where we currently live). I think it's better than plastic bottles.

Jeffrey18009   June 10, 2019
Does using a Pur filter help get rid of these plastics? Thank you

Helen18008   June 10, 2019
It would be useful to know if these microplastics can be filtered out using regular water filers like Brita   June 12, 2019
Hi Jeffrey and Helen - Please see our CL Answer about water filters and microplastics here:

Ann18006   June 9, 2019
Is there less plastic in imported beers , generally? Disappointing that Gerolsteiner carbonated water from Germany was found to have a lot; the purity law invoked by German brewers to reassure consumers, is often found on the label of bottled beer.

Stephen18005   June 9, 2019
are you guys going to do a full analysis of some of the popular bottled waters out there or does it vary too much?   June 12, 2019
Hi Stephen - We are considering testing and evaluating testing methodologies.

esther18085   June 27, 2019
Looking forward to reading the results!

Dawn18004   June 9, 2019
Maldonado Sea Salt?   June 10, 2019
Hi Dawn - We are not aware of any studies that have analyzed this particular brand of salt for contamination with microplastics.

John18003   June 9, 2019
I wonder whether any of the consumer water filter pitchers -- like Pur or Britta -- remove any or even some of these microplastics.

Blane18002   June 9, 2019
Will filtering bottle water using something like a charcoal PUR filter remove the microplastics ?

Barbara18001   June 9, 2019
I use Redmond salt. Any comments about this   June 10, 2019
Hi Barbara - Redmond sea salt is mined in Utah, from an ancient sea bed. The study noted above tested salt from Utah and found it to contain somewhat fewer particles than salts from active seas, although more than found in Hawaiian sea salt and North Sea salt.

Megan17999   June 9, 2019
Does anyone know if water filters help much or at all with microplastics in tap water?

Steven17288   November 5, 2018
I wonder about Celtic Salt, my favorite

Robert17281   November 5, 2018
Just last week I speculated that Himalayan Pink salt would be free from microplastics since it is mined from deposits. The contamination must occur during processing. Perhaps at this point the list of products without plastic is growing very short.

Shawn17282   November 5, 2018
Same here. And equally disappointed.

Jeffrey17292   November 7, 2018
This is all too much bad news. Ought to have a special bad new warning sector on this Great site !

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This CL Answer initially posted on 11/3/2018. Last updated 10/11/2019. members may submit questions to We read all questions and try to answer those of popular interest.



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