An Investigation Into Microplastics in Drinking Water at UAB
From Connor Graben
As microplastics are becoming increasingly ubiquitous in freshwater systems, it is important that investigation is done into the presence of microplastics in drinking water. To do this, we need to have empirical data to show if and to what extent microplastics are concentrated in various sources in order to draw conclusions about filtration processes and water treatment. Our research compared 1 liter water samples from the Cahaba River, UAB Gold Residence Hall, and Dining Hall, as well as water samples that had passed through a Brita pitcher. These samples were vacuum filtered through PCTE filters in a Buchner funnel twice, oxidized by Fenton's Reagent, and stained with Nile Red for quantification using fluorescence microscopy. Our findings provided limited evidence that microplastics are common in drinking water sources here at UAB. The data is not conclusive for the subject, yet it may help to remedy a rising concern for the infiltration of microplastics in water sources. Since a comprehensive understanding of the effect of microplastics on human health is not yet complete, this research is important in initiating further study of microplastics in drinking water to preserve public health.