Investigating the content of microplastics and other extraneous particles in Polish bottled water




plastic bottles, drinking water, solid particles, polymers, microplastics, FT-IR spectroscopy


Bottled water has enjoyed a global increase in popularity since it is generally perceived to be superior in quality to tap water and necessary when tap water is non-potable. As a result, ensuring that it meets the requisite quality standards is of vital importance. This work aims to examine the content of solid particles, including microplastics, in bottled water available in Polish stores. The second aspect is the preliminary determination of the influence of the water gassing process, together with thermal and light factors, on the content of particles in the water. The number of particles was counted by colour and shape, with the number ranging from 87 to 188 per litre of water; on average, there were 136 ±32 particles per litre of water, demonstrating that water from disposable plastic bottles is contaminated with various substances. The difference in the number of particles may be due to the origin of the waters, the processes they were subjected to prior to bottling, the properties of the bottles as packaging, and the conditions and length of storage and transport. Additional Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR) analysis confirmed that about 75% of the particles were polymers, and 50% of them were plastics. Particularly alarming is the fact that the bottled waters mostly contained microplastic particles (MP) of smaller sizes, the kind which is recognized as being the most dangerous to human health. In the study, most particles were in the form of irregular shapes, which may indicate that they come from the destruction of waste or plastic products. This is also indicated by the domination of colourless particles. More particles were found in waters exposed to high and low temperatures than in waters stored at room temperature, potentially indicating that storage conditions for drinking water are important. Taking into account the results obtained, increasing attention should be paid to the health risks posed by such microplastics and there is a clear need to introduce legal regulations on the matter. The lack of any legal guidelines or unified standards in the field of MP research means that the results are not always representative, and it also makes it difficult to compare the results from different studies.


Download data is not yet available.


Acarer S., 2023. Abundance and characteristics of microplastics in drinking water treatment plants, distribution systems, water from refill kiosks, tap waters and bottled waters. Science of The Total Environment, 884, 163866.

Altunışık A., 2023. Microplastic pollution and human risk assessment in Turkish bottled natural and mineral waters. Environmental Science and Pollution Research, 30, 39815–39825.

Asefnejad A., Khorasani M.T., Behnamghader A., Farsadzadeh B. & Bonakdar S., 2011. Manufacturing of biodegradable polyurethane scaffolds based on polycaprolactone using a phase separation method: Physical properties and in vitro assay. International Journal of Nanomedicine, 6, 2375–2384.

Besseling E., Redondo-Hasselerharm P., Foekema E.M. & Koelmans A.A., 2019. Quantifying ecological risks of aquatic micro- and nanoplastic. Critical Reviews in Environmental Science and Technology, 49(1), 32–80.

Boucher J. & Friot D., 2017. Primary Microplastics in the Oceans: A Global Evaluation of Sources. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland.

Browne M.A., Crump P., Niven S.J., Teuten E., Tonkin A., Galloway T. & Thompson R., 2011. Accumulation of microplastic on shorelines word wide: Sources and sinks. Environmental Science and Technology, 45(21), 9175–9179.

Campanale C., Massarelli C., Savino I., Locaputo V. & Uricchio V.F., 2020. A detailed review study on potential effects of microplastics and additives of concern on human health. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 17(4), 1212.

Cole M., Lindeque P., Halsband C. & Galloway T.S., 2011. Microplastics as contaminants in the marine environment: A review. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 62(12), 2588–2597

Cowger W., Gray A., Christiansen S.H., DeFrond H., Deshpande A.D., Hemabessiere L., Lee E., Mill L., Munno K., Ossmann B.E., Pittroff M., Rochman C., Sarau G., Tarby S. & Primpke S., 2020. Critical review of processing and classification techniques for images and spectra in microplastic research, Applied Spectroscopy, 7(9), 989–1010.

Dahl M., Bergman S., Björk M., Diaz-Almela E., Granberg M., Gullström M., Leiva-Dueñas C., Magnusson K., Marco Méndez C., Piñeiro-Juncal N. & Ma-teo M.Á., 2021. A temporal record of microplastic pollution in Mediterranean seagrass soils. Environmental Pollution, 273, 116451.

Danopoulos E., Twiddy M. & Rotchell J.M., 2020. Microplastic contamination of drinking water: A systematic review. PLoS One, 15(7), e0236838.

D’Hont A., Gittenberger A., Leuven R.S.E.W. & Hendriks A.J., 2021. Dropping the microbead: Source and sink related microplastic distribution in the Black Sea and Caspian Sea basins. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 173(A), 112982.

Diduch M., Polkowska Ż. & Namieśnik J., 2013. Factors affecting the quality of bottled water. Journal of Exposure Science & Environmental Epidemiology, 23, 111–119.

Directive, 1998. Council Directive 98/83/EC of 3 November 1998 on the quality of water intended for human consumption. OJ L 330, 5.12.1998.

Directive, 2020. Directive (EU) 2020/2184 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 December 2020 on the quality of water intended for human consumption. OJ L 435, 23.12.2020.

Doria M.F., 2006. Bottled water versus tap water: understanding consumers’ preferences. Journal of Water and Health, 4(2), 271–276.

Erni-Cassola G., Gibson M.I., Thompson R.C. & Christie Oleza J.A., 2017. Lost, but found with Nile Red: A novel method for detecting and quantifying small microplastics (1 mm to 20 μm) in environmental samples. Environmental Science & Technology, 51(23), 13641–13648.

Fackelmann G., Pham C.K., Rodríguez Y., Mallory M.L., Provencher J.F., Baak J.E. & Sommer S., 2023. Current levels of microplastic pollution impact wild seabird gut microbiomes. Nature ecology & Evolution, 7(5), 698–706.

Fiore M., Fraterrigo Garofalo S., Migliavacca A., Mansutti A., Fino D. & Tommasi T., 2022. Tackling marine microplastics pollution: An overview of existing solutions. Water, Air, & Soil Pollution, 233, 276.

Gambino I., Bagordo F., Grassi T., Panico A. & De Donno A., 2022. Occurrence of microplastics in tap and bottled water: current knowledge. International Journal of Environment and Public Health, 19(9), 5283.

Giese A., Kerpen J., Weber F. & Prediger J., 2021. A preliminary study of microplastic abrasion from the screw cap system of reusable plastic bottles by Raman microspectroscopy. ACS ES&T Water, 1(6), 1363–1368.

Hale R.C., Seeley M.E., La Guardia M.J., Mai L. & Zeng E.Y., 2020. A global perspective on microplastics. JGR Oceans, 125(1), e2018JC014719.

Hopewell J., Dvorak R. & Kosior E., 2009. Plastics recycling: challenges and opportunities. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 364(1526), 2115–2126.

Huan L.I., Long Z.H.U., Mindong M.A., Haiwen W.U., Lihui A.N. & Zhanhong Y.A.N.G., 2023. Occurrence of microplastics in commercially sold bottled water. Science of The Total Environment, 867, 161553.

Kankanige D. & Babel S., 2020. Smaller-sized micro-plastics (MPs) contamination in single-use PET-bottled water in Thailand. The Science of The Total Environment, 717, 137232.

Kirstein I.V. & Gomiero A.J., 2021. Microplastic pollution in drinking water. Current Opinion in Toxicology, 28, 70–75.

Koelmans A.A., Nor N.H.M., Hermsen E., Kooi M., Mintenig S.M. & De France J., 2019. Microplastics in freshwaters and drinking water: Critical review and assessment of data quality. Water Research, 155, 410–422.

Kosuth M., Mason S.A. & Wattenberg E.V., 2018. Anthropogenic contamination of tap water, beer, and sea salt. PLoS ONE, 13(4), e0194970.

Kutralam-Muniasamy G., Pérez-Guevara F., Elizalde Martínez I. & Shruti V.C., 2020. Branded milks – Are they immune from microplastics contamination? Science of The Total Environment, 714, 136823.

Lam T.W.L., Ho H.T., Ma A.T.H. & Fok L., 2020. Microplastic contamination of surface water-sourced tap water in Hong Kong – A preliminary study. Applied Sciences, 10, 3463.

Maes T., Jessop R., Wellner N., Haupt K. & Mayes A.G., 2017. A rapid-screening approach to detect and quantify microplastics based on fluorescent tagging with Nile Red. Scientific Reports, 7, 44501.

Mason S.A., Welch V.G. & Neratko J., 2018. Synthetic polymer contamination in bottled water. Frontiers in Chemistry, 6, 407.

Meyers N., Catarino A.I., Declercq A.M., Brenan A., Devriese L., Vandegehuchte M., De Witte B., Janssen C. & Everaert G., 2022. Microplastic detection and identification by Nile Red staining: Towards a semi-automated, cost- and time-effective technique. The Science of The Total Environment, 823, 153441.

Miller E., Sedlak M., Lin D., Box C., Holleman C., Rochman C.M. & Sutton R., 2021. Recommended best practices for collecting, analyzing, and reporting microplastics in environmental media: Lessons learned from comprehensive monitoring of San Francisco Bay. Journal of Hazardous Materials, 409, 124770.

Mintenig S.M., Löder M.G.J., Primpke S. & Gerdts G., 2019. Low numbers of microplastics detected in drinking water from ground water sources. Science of The Total Environment, 648, 631–635.

Muhib M.I., Uddin M.K., Rahman M.M. & Malafaia G., 2023. Occurrence of microplastics in tap and bottled water, and food packaging: A narrative review on current knowledge. Science of The Total Environment, 865, 161274.

Munoz-Pineiro M., 2018. Microplastics: Focus on Food and Health. EUR N/A, JRC110629, Publications Office of the European Union, Luxembourg. [access: 30.06.2023].

Myszograj M., 2020. Microplastic in food and drinking water – environmental monitoring data. Civil and Environmental Engineering Reports, 30(4), 201–209.

Nacaratte F., Cuevas P., Becerra-Herrera M. & Manzano C.A., 2023. Early screening of suspected microplastics in bottled water in the Santiago Metropolitan Region of Chile. Environmental Pollution, 334, 122118.

NIK, 2021. Ochrona ludzi przed szkodliwym wpływem tworzyw sztucznych. Informacja o wynikach kontroli. Najwyższa Izba Kontroli, Delegatura w Łodzi.,23774,vp,26512.pdf [access: 10.06.2023].

Osman A., Hosny M., Eltaweil A., Omar S., Elgarahy A., Farghali M., Yap P.-S., Wu Y.-S., Nagandran S., Batumalaie K., Gopinath S., John O.D., Sekar M., Saikia T., Karunanithi P., Hatta M.H.M. & Akinyede K.A., 2023. Microplastic sources, formation, toxicity and remediation: A review. Environmental Chemistry Letters, 21, 2129–2169.

Oβmann B.E., 2020. Determination of microparticles, in particular microplastics in beverages [Ph.D. thesis]. Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU), Erlangen. [access: 20.06.2023].

Oβmann B.E., Sarau G., Holtmannspötter H., Pischetsrieder M., Christiansen S.H. & Dicke W., 2018. Small-sized microplastics and pigmented particles in bottled mineral water. Water Research, 141, 307–316.

Ouellette R.J. & Rawn J.D., 2015. Synthetic polymers. [in:] Ouellette R.J. & Rawn J.D., Organic Chemistry Study Guide: Key Concepts, Problems, and Solutions, Elsevier, 587–601.

PlasticsEurope, 2020. Plastics – the Facts 2020: An analysis of European plastics production, demand and waste data. [access 19.03.2022].

PlasticsEurope, 2021. Plastics – the Facts 2021: An analysis of European plastics production, demand and waste data. [access 25.06.2023].

PlasticsEurope, 2022. Plastics – the Facts 2022. [access: 15.06.2023].

Połeć M., Aleksander-Kwaterczak U., Wątor K. & Kmiecik E., 2018. The occurrence of microplastics in freshwater systems – preliminary results from Krakow (Poland). Geology, Geophysics and Environment, 44(4), 391–400.

Salazar-Beltrán D., Hinojosa-Reyes L., Palomino-Cabello C., Turnes-Palomino G., Hernández-Ramírez A. & Guzmán-Mar J.L., 2018. Determination of phthalate acid esters plasticizers in polyethylene terephthalate bottles and its correlation with some physicochemical properties. Polymer Testing, 68, 87–94.

Saylor A., Prokopy L.S. & Amberg S., 2011. What’s wrong with the tap? Examining perceptions of tap water and bottled water at Purdue University. Environmental Management, 48, 588–601. 9692-6.

Schymanski D., Goldbeck C., Humpf H. & Fürst P., 2018. Analysis of microplastics in water by micro-Raman spectroscopy: Release of plastic particles from different packaging into mineral water. Water Research, 129, 154–162.

Schymanski D., Oβmann B.E., Benismail N., Boukerma K., Dallmann G., von der Esch E., Fischer D., Fischer F., Gilliland D., Glas K., Hofmann T., Käppler A., Lacorte S., Marco J., Rakwe M.E.L., Weisser J., Witzig C., Zumbülte N. & Ivleva N.P., 2021. Analysis of microplastics in drinking water and other clean water samples with micro-Raman and micro-infrared spectroscopy: minimum requirements and best practice guidelines. Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry, 413, 5969–5994.

Shruti V.C., Pérez-Guevara F., Roy P.D. & Kutralam-Muniasamy G., 2022. Analyzing microplastics with Nile Red: Emerging trends, challenges, and prospects. Journal of hazardous materials, 423(B), 127171.

Singh T., 2021. Generation of microplastics from the opening and closing of disposable plastic water bottles. Journal of Water and Health, 19(3), 488–498.

Singh S. & Bhagwat A., 2022. Microplastics: A potential threat to groundwater resources. Groundwater for Sustainable Development, 19, 100852,

Stelmach A. & Aleksander-Kwaterczak U., 2023. Contemporary problems with microplastics sampling, preparation and detection in case of the aquatic environment. [in:] Pikoń K. & Bogacka M. (eds.), Contemporary Problems of Power Engineering and Environmental Protection 2022, Department of Technologies and Installations for Waste Management, Silesian University of Technology, Gliwice, 16–26.

Taheri S., Shoshtari-Yeganeh B., Pourzamani H. & Ebrahimpour K., 2023. Investigating the pollution of bottled water by the microplastics (MPs): the effects of mechanical stress, sunlight exposure, and freezing on MPs release. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, 195, 62.

Thompson R.C., Olsen Y.S., Mitchell R.P., Davis A., Rowland S.J., John A.W.G., McGonigle D.F. & Russell A.E., 2004. Lost at sea: Where is all the plastic? Science, 304(5672), 838.

Veerasingam S., Ranjani M., Venkatachalapathy R., Bagaev A., Mukhanov V., Litvinyuk D., Mugilarasan M., Gurumoorthi K., Guganathan L., Aboobacker V.M. & Vethamony P., 2020. Contributions of Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy in microplastic pollution research: A review. Critical Reviews in Environmental Science and Technology, 51(22), 2681–2743.

Viaroli S., Lancia M. & Re V., 2022. Microplastics contamination of groundwater: Current evidence and future perspectives. A review. Science of The Total Environment, 824, 153851.

Wang T., Zou X., Li B., Yao Y., Zang Z., Li Y., Yu W. & Wang W., 2019. Preliminary study of the source apportionment and diversity of microplastics: Taking floating microplastics in the South China Sea as an example. Environmental Pollution, 245, 965–974.

Welle F. & Franz R., 2018. Microplastic in bottled natural mineral water – literature review and considerations on exposure and risk assessment. Food Additives & Contaminants: Part A, 35(12), 2482–2492.

WHO, 2019. Microplastics in drinking-water. World Health Organization, Genewa. [access: 25.06.2023].

Winkler A., Santo N., Ortenzi M.A., Bolzoni E., Bacchetta R. & Tremolada P., 2019. Does mechanical stress cause microplastic release from plastic water bottles? Water Research, 166, 115082.

Yuan Z., Nag R. & Cummins E., 2022. Human health concerns regarding microplastics in the aquatic environment – From marine to food systems. Science of The Total Environment, 823, 153730.

Zhang K., Hamidian A.H., Tubić A., Zhang Y., Fang J.K.H., Wu C. & Lam P.K.S., 2021. Understanding plastic degradation and microplastic formation in the environment: A review. Environmental Pollution, 274, 116554.

Zhang Y., Zhu P.C. & Edgren D., 2010. Crosslinking reaction of poly(vinyl alcohol) with glyoxal. Journal of Polymer Research, 17(5), 725–730.

Zhou X., Wang J., Li H., Zhang H., Jiang H. & Zhang D., 2021. Microplastic pollution of bottled water in China. Journal of Water Process Engineering, 40, 101884.

Zhou Y., Ashokkumar V., Amobonye A., Bhattacharjee G., Sirohi R., Singh V., Flora G., Kumar V., Pillai S., Zhang Z. & Awasthi M.K., 2023. Current research trends on cosmetic microplastic pollution and its impacts on the ecosystem: A review. Environmental Pollution, 320, 121106.




How to Cite

Aleksander-Kwaterczak, U., Gaj, D., Stelmach, A., & Wróbel, T. P. (2023). Investigating the content of microplastics and other extraneous particles in Polish bottled water. Geology, Geophysics and Environment, 49(4), 335–353.