Americans use 75,000 plastic water bottles each minute. This staggering amount of consumption happens for a lot of reasons. Some people make use of them for their convenience. Some just like that they can be kept in the fridge. For others, it’s just one of the many things people do because they are unhappy with the water that they have access to at home. This reliance on plastic bottles is a problem, however, because plastic water bottles cause all kinds of damage to not only the environment but also our health. Read on for a closer look at this damage and what you can do to help it.
Their Litter is Everywhere
They can cause damage to the environment through leaking toxic chemicals into our water, land and air. While it may not seem likely, only 12% of water bottles end up being recycled, whereas 80% end up in landfills. This means 8% of that total ends up outside of either of these two options, clogging up roadways and debeautifying our natural spaces. Plastic takes over 450 years to decompose. So compared to other options, they aren’t a problem that goes away easily.
Their Waste Isn’t Going Away Any Time Soon
Microbes have not yet evolved that can break them down chemically, meaning the problem is ongoing. Plastic bottles physically break down into smaller and smaller pieces and eventually form micro-particles that cannot break down further. All of this plastic waste is now sticking together in the ocean. In the Pacific Ocean, right now, there is a plastic island twice the size of Texas. With all of the damage our oceans have been subjected to through improper conservation, this is only going to cause more damage.
They Still Contain BPA
Plastic bottles harm not only the environment around us but also ourselves. BPA, a chemical that has been banned for infants and completely in the EU and China, has been linked to negative changes in the brain, diabetes, blood pressure and prostate health. While many brands do not use BPAs, many still do.
They Contain Phthalates
An even more serious and endemic problem is that plastics contain phthalates, a chemical used to soften plastic, which are used widely in plastic water bottles. These chemicals have been shown to lead to a large number of negative effects, but because it accumulates and causes problems slowly, it is a problem that has largely been ignored. It becomes worse when the water bottles are left in the sun, but can leak into your water at any time. Since 1973, sperm health in men has fallen by nearly half, and while the worldwide drop has not yet been explained, these are one of the leading suspects. It is a problem that has literally been ignored by most of the modern medical establishment.
Their Chemicals Leech Into the Environment
Phthalates are in almost everything, food containers, makeups, and yes, water bottles. Because of this they have been found in many parts of the environment. They have been shown to cause damage to the lungs, liver, kidneys and reproductive systems of both sexes. While low levels are not guaranteed to cause problems, if they accumulate they can lead to serious problems.
What Can You Do?
These problems can be avoided by making sure you are comfortable using the water from your home’s tap. By making your hard water soft again using a reverse osmosis softening system or other purification methods available, you can fall in love with your water again and use your own safe cups and bottles to drink water out of.