Drinking water samples drawn from taps in homes and businesses across Dublin, Offaly and Cork have all tested positive for microscopic plastics.
Samples provided by this newspaper to researchers working with Orb Media found that all five were contaminated with plastics, with results well in excess of levels recorded in a major global survey.
The samples were drawn on August 20 and August 21 last from a number of properties across the State. They were houses in Tullamore, Co Offaly; Stillorgan in Co Dublin; and another in Carrigaline, Co Cork.
In addition, a sample was drawn from a bathroom tap in west Cork, and a kitchen tap at the Irish Independent offices on Talbot Street in Dublin.
The samples were sent to the US for analysis, and were tested by the same researchers involved in the global survey by Orb Media, which is published today.
The analysis showed that the highest level of plastics was found in west Cork, with 94 fibres. It was followed by 19 in Stillorgan; 17 in the house in Carrigaline, 10 in Tullamore and just six in the Irish Independent offices.
The testing revealed that the average number of fibres in each sample was 42.5 per litre of water.
This compares with a global average of 4.34 per litre of 159 samples tested as part of the global survey.
The results also show that contamination is well above the rates found across five continents. The average level of contamination of water samples was 83pc worldwide - but all the Irish samples tested positive for plastics contamination.
These results do not form part of the global report and it is not clear why the results are so startlingly high.