Questions for ‘Bottled water hosts many thousands of nano-sized plastic bits’ 

a row of single use water bottles on a wood plank in front of a beach

Scientists found hundreds of thousands of nanoplastics in bottled water and identified seven types of plastics in the mix. This is 10 times more than what had turned up in previous studies.

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To accompany Bottled water hosts many thousands of nano-sized plastic bits


Before Reading:

  1. In your opinion, how important is drinking plenty of water for human health? Do a quick internet search and write down three consequences of mild dehydration in people. After this search, would you change your answer to the first part of this question? Briefly explain why or why not.
  2. Do you drink more bottled water or tap water? If you had to choose, which do you think is typically healthier? Explain your answer.

During Reading:

  1. What challenges did Beizhan Yan have to overcome to study nanoplastic particles? How do these nano-sized particles differ from microplastic particles?
  2. How do the lasers described in this study affect the tiny plastic samples? Be specific about the exact change the laser brings about in these plastic samples.
  3. How many types of plastic can this new technique identify?
  4. Approximately what share of plastic particles in the bottled water did Naixin Qian and her team find in the nanosized range?
  5. List two types of plastic the new tool could identify.
  6. Due to the small size of these particles, what concerns does Phoebe Stapleton have regarding human health and safety?
  7. According to current studies, how does the amount of plastic bits in bottled water compare with the amount in tap water?

After Reading:

  1. Dušan Materić expresses some skepticism regarding the new technique that was described in this story. Explain one of his concerns. If someone such as Materić never expressed this concern, what problem could that cause for future studies? How do you feel about the importance of skepticism in science? Explain your answer.
  2. Don’t hesitate to drink bottled water if that’s all you have available, says Yan. What misunderstanding is Yan trying to avoid with this caution? 
  3. Besides bottled water, what other types of products could contain these plastic bits? List at least three. If you were a scientist, which of these would you test first? Explain your choice.