OrbMedia asks: If microscopic plastic is in oceans, lakes, and rivers, is it in drinking water as well?
“In the first public scientific study of its kind, we found previously unknown plastic contamination in the tap water of cities around the world,” they wrote recently in a special edition.
They claim everyone in the world is consuming plastic with each drink of water. As we’ve written before, plastics mimic hormones in the body and these can cause obesity and reproductive issues.
Microscopic plastic fibers are flowing out of taps from New York to New Delhi, according to exclusive research by Orb and a researcher at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health. From the halls of the U.S. Capitol to the shores of Lake Victoria in Uganda, women, children, men, and babies are consuming plastic with every glass of water.
More than 80 percent of the samples we collected on five continents tested positive for the presence of plastic fibers.
Microplastics — tiny plastic fibers and fragments — aren’t just choking the ocean; they have infested the world’s drinking water.
If that weren’t bad enough, they write [emphasis added]:
It gets worse. Plastic is all but indestructible, meaning plastic waste doesn’t biodegrade; rather, it only breaks down into smaller pieces of itself, even down to particles in nanometer scale — one-one thousandth of one-one thousandth of a millimeter.
Studies show particles of that size can migrate through the intestinal wall and travel to the lymph nodes and other bodily organs.
If microplastics are in your water, does it stand to reason that they are in your food?
Yes! Baby formulas, soups, sauces, juices, sodas and more, they reason.
– James from www.ukh2o.co.uk said: ‘Adding a water filter to your home can help filter out any impurities or particles coming into your home through the water supply, giving your family clean fresh water straight from the tap.’
We’ve previously reported on contaminants found in beer, but Orb says an up and coming study will show that plastics are in beer, too, making beer one of the most estrogenic and obesogenic substances.
How Did Microplastics Get Into Our Water?
Some of the major sources are wastewater, wastewater from washers, fast-fashion and synthetic materials, tire dust, microbeads and the proliferation of plastic waste. All wastewater stemming from textiles proliferates PFCs (perfluorinated chemicals) into the environment. Perfluorinated chemicals are found in popcorn bags and fast food wrappers, so that is another way this chemical comes back to us.
Scott Belcher, Ph.D. Research Professor of North Carolina State University and Spokesman, The Endocrine Society said:
Chemicals from plastics are a constant part of our daily diet. We generally assume the water bottle holding that pure spring water, the microwave-safe plastic bowl we prepare our meals in, or the styrofoam cup holding a hot drink is there protecting our food and drinks. Rather than acting as a completely inert barrier, these plastics are breaking down and leaching chemicals, including endocrine-disrupting plasticizers like BPA or phthalates, flame retardants, and even toxic heavy metals that are all absorbed into our diets and bodies.
What Can We Do?
While there is a lot of buck-passing among the various industries, the truth is, something needs to change at the base of the cycle – manufacturing. Sure, each individual can mitigate waste and try to go for naturally dyed, natural fabrics, but it would be asinine to think that this would solve the waste issue.
One manifesto offered by William McDonough in the book Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things is that every product can be “born again” – truly repurposed. We’re not talking about using plastic waste to build houses. No, no, it would still waste in the end. The phrase “cradle to cradle” itself was coined by Walter R. Stahel in the 1970s and really should have taken off before the water bottle industry got started.
But even if we can’t get that far, if the manufacture of materials were biodegradable and safe to begin with, we could mitigate many of the toxicants to begin with.
In the meantime, we can do our best to stop buying products that create waste that will come back to haunt us in our water. We can make demands that manufacturers stop using methods that poison the ecology people eat and drink from!