What is Microplastic & How Can a Filter Remove it from Your Tap Water

With the rise inplastic manufacturing worldwide, there has been an associated rise in plastic pollutionin the external environment.As such, we have found microplastic fibres and particles finding their way into our bottled water and tap water supplies.

The first reports date back to the early 1970s (Carpenter & Smith 1972) and most famously within the World’s oceans. More recently, studies have shown that plastic pollutionhas found its way to freshwater lakes, inland seas, rivers, wetlands and organisms from plankton to whales (and nearly every species in between).

Recent studies tell usthat testing methods are still evolving. The water tests showed that microfibers as small as 2.5 microns were present in tap water and bottled water supplies,leading to questions about the risk of microplastic in humans and how much we consume.

What is Microplastic?

Microplastics in water aretiny pieces of plastic (less than five millimetres in length) broken down from larger pieces of plastic. These microplastics can degrade from various sources, including bottles, food packaging, cosmetics, detergents, and even the shedding of synthetic fibres from polyester and nylon clothes. While microplastics may not seem like a big deal, they can actually pose a serious threat to the environment and human health.

What are the Different Types of Microplastics?

Primary Microplastics

Primary microplastics directly make their way into the environment through their intended use. They are typically made to be small, such as in the form of ‘microbeads’, used in cosmetics, personal cleaning products, and more. Once applied, they can be washed down into wastewater systems from countless households and workplaces across the world. 

Secondary Microplastics

Secondary microplastics are created after larger plastics start to break down and degrade. This will occur after ongoing exposure to wind abrasion, ultraviolet radiation, wave action and other elements that consistently work to break it down. The remaining fragments are then carried into the wider environment, contributing to the microplastics in water today.

Microplastic in Humans: What is the Health Impact of Drinking and Eating Microplastics?

Have you ever wondered, ‘how much microplastic do we consume on a regular basis?’ Unfortunately, scientists aren’t certain. Current analytical methods are still limited in detecting microplastics in human test samples. With that said,a 2019 study commissioned by the WWF and the University of Newcastle, Australia, estimates the average consumption of about 2000 pieces of microplastic each week – that’s 21 grams of plastic, or the equivalent of one credit card!

The full extent of the health impacts of consuming microplastics in water and food is still largely unknown. More research is required, but there is aselection of concerns associated with smaller microplastics penetrating human organs and distributing the particles across tissues, muscles and the brain, spreading toxic chemicals. This can cause pH variations, aging particles, disruptions to polymer compositions and more. 

How Can You Remove Microplastics in Tap Water at Home?

Now that we know what microplastic is, it is prudent to identify measures to limit how much we consume. Now, a common question for this is, ‘does a water filter remove microplastics?’

Well,the zazen Ceramic Filterwithin thezazen Alkaline Water System will remove microplasticsin waterdown to 0.2 microns or 12 x smaller than tested above, so smaller microplastics will be filtered.Micron comparison

So, when your white zazen Ceramic Filter turns yellowy and brown in colour and even has algae and black spots on the outside – that is GREAT news!  It isdoing its job!

How Does the zazen Ceramic Filter Remove Microplastic from Water?

The zazen Ceramic Filter filters by trapping on the outside layer those tiny microplastic fibres and other organicparticles that would otherwise flow through and compromise the next layer of zazen micro-filtration.Alongsidehelping to remove microplastic from your body, zazen Multi-Stage Filter Cartridgeis filtering heavy metals such as chlorine, THM’s, lead, fluoride and much, much more.  

To clean your Ceramic FilterIf you want to know howto remove microplastic from your body, it is important to have a clean water filter on hand. To clean your zazen Ceramic Filter, simply take the top tank (with the Ceramic Filter still inside) to the sink and with cold water and a clean dish cloth or light scourer gentlywipe/scrub the outside of the Ceramic Filter gently. You will find the outside “scum” will wipe off easily when it is moist.

The ceramic may not return to pure white again but will allow water to flow easily again through it. You can use white vinegar or lemon juice on the outside of the ceramic if you wish to.

See below our video on how to clean your zazen Ceramic Filterto better remove microplastic pollutants from your water.


Image credit: @maylandswellness_


NOAA. What are Microplastics? National Ocean Service website, 26 February 2021https://oceanservice.noaa.gov/podcast/july17/nop08-historical-maps-charts.html 

Rogers K,Microplastics,Britannica, 5 April 2022,https://www.britannica.com/technology/microplastic 

WWF Australia,Revealed: plastic ingestion by people could be equating to a credit card a week,WWF Australia Website, 12 June 2019https://www.wwf.org.au/news/news/2019/revealed-plastic-ingestion-by-people-could-be-equating-to-a-credit-card-a-week#gs.8ec2y2 

Campanale C, Massarelli C, Savino I, Locaputo V, Uricchio VF. A Detailed Review Study on Potential Effects of Microplastics and Additives of Concern on Human Health. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020 Feb 13;17(4):1212. doi: 10.3390/ijerph17041212. PMID: 32069998; PMCID: PMC7068600.

Horton, Alice & Walton, Alexander & Spurgeon, David & Lahive, Elma & Svendsen, Claus. (2017). Microplastics in freshwater and terrestrial environments: Evaluating the current understanding to identify the knowledge gaps and future research priorities. Science of The Total Environment. 586. 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2017.01.190. 

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