Microplastics found in beer made with Great Lakes water

Local News

 If you’ve enjoyed a beer or drink water from the tap, chances are they may contain extra ingredients you didn’t know were there.

Research from the University of Minnesota found microplastics in 12 different beers made with water from the Great Lakes and found those same microplastics in tap water.

They’re pieces of plastic so small you can’t see them, but you know they’re there.

And they can come from just about anything.

“Like some fishing line that’s lost in the water or plastic bottles or plastic bag or some sort of clothing that’s made out of synthetic material,” says Mary Kosuth.

Kosuth was a graduate student at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health when she led a study that sampled 12 brands of beer from craft brewers from around the Great Lakes.

All 12 brands tested positive for microplastics.

Most were less than 5 millimeters in length, but Kosuth says the findings are so new, we can’t be sure what this means for human health.

“We just don’t have enough information now about microplastics to say if you ingest this, then this will happen, so it’s really this is pretty new which is kind of crazy because we’ve known about plastics in our environment since the 1960s.”

The UMN team also tested  water samples from 159 taps from around the world and discovered 81 percent of the samples contained microplastic fibers. 

Local 5 asked if that meant water utility companies were not able to filter out that plastic.

“We would like to have more research if we could somehow test along the process and find out where potentially the stuff is being introduced,” says Kosuth. “That would be a good thing to know. Could it be where the water is stored in a reservoir after it’s been filtered, but before it makes its way to homes and businesses?”

But until that research can be done Kosuth says you don’t have to be leery of your drinking water.

“I definitely don’t want people to become suspicious of their municipal water supply because like I said they are doing an excellent job of giving us safe drinking water.”

Kosuth’s team also studied 12 brands of sea salts from around the world…including brands found in midwest specialty shops.

They found microplastics in all 12 brands.

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