Microplastics and drinking water

The World Health Organisation (WHO) declares that based on the limited information available, microplastics in drinking water today do not appear to pose any danger to humans. Other contaminants are much more significant. However, further investigations are urgently needed. (Source: "Microplastics in drinking water", WHO, 2019).

The Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN) also classifies the risk of microplastics getting into drinking water in Switzerland as low. Microplastics are removed from the water during the treatment of drinking water. From today’s perspective, there is therefore no risk to human health in Switzerland (source: “First Inventory of Microplastics in Swiss waters”, FOEN, 2014).

In a study by the Office for Waste, Water, Energy and Air (AWEL) in the Canton of Zurich, no microplastics could be detected in groundwater and drinking water (source: Scientific article “Microplastics in Wastewater and Waters”, Aqua&Gas No 7/8, 2016). Whether nanoplastics can also be efficiently retained during drinking water treatment is currently being investigated in a collaboration between Eawag and the Zurich water utility Wasserversorgung Zürich (WVZ).