Germany’s precious beer has been tainted. Under Germany’s famously strict beer laws, beer can only contain four ingredients: water, hops, malt, and yeast. But for all that strict, government-ordered protection, new research indicates that even beers from Germany’s biggest brands have been tainted by microscopic plastic fibers.
According to The Local, Markt, a consumer rights program, tested beers from Germany’s top producers, and microscopic bits of plastic were found in every one. Paulaner wheat beer from Munich, for example, had an average of 70 particles per liter.
Water bottles were also tested and found to contain microscopic plastic bits, but at much lower levels than the beer.
It is not yet clear whether or not the plastic particles can cause health problems, but some researchers believe the problems could show up in time. A few filaments here and there might not be a problem, but if they build up over the years in an organism’s tissues, it could be potentially dangerous.
“Micro-plastic will sooner or later represent a danger to us,” said Stephan Pflugmacher, an ecological toxicologist from Berlin’s Technical University, who studied the effects of microscopic plastic fibers on mussels and found that over time the micro-plastic could build up enough to kill the mussels.
The German Brewing Federation said it would begin an investigation into the issue.