Application Note

FT-IR Mircoscopic Analysis of Microplastics in Bottled Water

Bottled water is marketed as being the clean and pure alternative to drinking tap water. However, there is increasing opposition to the use of single-use plastic bottles and the fact that they end up in the environment either as intact bottles, or as secondary microplastics when they do break down into smaller pieces and particles. A recent study also reports that microplastic particles have been detected in several brands of bottled drinking water. The effects on human health from microplastics are still to be determined, but the presence of microplastics, potentially containing priority organic pollutants (POPs), in food and beverages is a major concern. Infrared (IR) spectroscopy is the primary analytical technique for the identification of polymers and the use of IR microscopy allows for the detection and identification of microplastics down to particles of only a few microns in size. This application note describes the analysis of several different brands of bottled water using the PerkinElmer Spotlight 400 FT-IR Imaging system.