Researchers find 'microplastics' in beers that source water from Lake Michigan

Posted at 6:12 AM, May 22, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-22 12:29:01-04

MILWAUKEE -- A study by the University of Minnesota's School of Public Health gives us a stunning look at the amount of plastic pollution found in beer brewed with our Lake Michigan water.

Researchers found tiny fibers called 'microplastics' in every sample. Microplastics are about one to five millimeters long.

Mary Kosuth says she collected samples and processed them from 2016 to 2017, while a graduate student at the University of Minnesota. She says she discovered there are plastic particles in our great lake tap water, and in the beer brewed with it.

Kosuth explained what concerns her, "Plastic itself can have additives, there are UV stabilizers, colorants. They can leach into the organism that ingested the plastic particle."

She explains, heavy metals and even pathogens have the ability to absorb in microplastic.

"In some cases its many many times the concentration that you would find in the water around it," said Kosuth.

All of the 12 beer brands she tested in the great lakes region had traces of microplastics. Four of the brands tested used water sourced from Lake Michigan Specifically. She found about 3 microfibers per liter in the three samples taken from each brand in the research. Which brands were tested? Kosuth still will not say.

"We're not interested in shaming any brands. We just want to know if they're there or not," she explained.

Kosuth says she hopes to reach out to the brands in her study personally and offer more research, to find out how the microplastics could be making their way into their products.

Click here to read the published study.

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