Plastic is everywhere—in the fibers of our clothes, in the packaging of much of our food, and in the water bottles we drink. It’s relatively cheap to make and purchase, so we don’t think much about throwing it away when we’re done with it. Unfortunately, it will stick around much longer than any of us will. Worse yet, much of this plastic is making its way into our water supply and putting our health at risk.
How is plastic getting into our drinking water?
Our landfills are filled with plastic that will take years to break down. That water bottle you’re drinking? It could take up to 450 years to decompose. And those plastic bags you use to carry your groceries can take 10 to 20 years to break down. Because plastic is found in so many things we use every day, it has several other less conventional pathways to our drinking water:
Synthetic fibers: Anytime you wash clothes or other items made from synthetic fibers, plastic microfibers are released into your machine, down your drain, and ultimately, into your groundwater.
Cosmetics: Plastic microbeads found in many cosmetics also contribute to the problem when they are washed down your drain.
Plastic cotton swabs and face wipes: When these items are placed under a running faucet, or flushed down toilets, tiny plastic particles are released into our water supplies.
Health risks from plastic-contaminated water:
We’ve all seen and heard about the harm plastic causes sea creatures and other wildlife. While studies are ongoing, some scientists believe the chemicals (including phthalates) used to manufacture plastic may pose serious risks to human health, including a disruption to hormonal production, fetal development issues, and a possible increase in asthma relating to exposure. Learn about treatment options for PFAS (plastics in your water).
What you can do to help:
There are several things you can do to decrease the amount of plastic that is getting into our water:
1. Reduce your use.
Try to be aware of your own plastic purchases and consumption. Avoid purchasing and using any products that come in plastic containers or packaging, especially those that are used once and thrown away.
2. Find sustainable alternatives.
Reduce your use of common items including plastic cutlery, plates, cups, straws, toothbrushes, etc. Opt for reusable products.
3. Just say no to plastic water bottles. There are many compelling reasons to stop drinking bottled water. Find a good reusable water bottle instead.
4. BYOB (Bring your own bags) Place your groceries in your own reusable shopping bags. Those cheap plastic bags don’t work well anyway! There are also great reusable bags for produce and bulk items.
Ensuring your drinking water is safe.
Do you have concerns about the quality and safety of your drinking water? Since many contaminants are odorless and tasteless, the only way to know if your water is contaminated is to get it tested by a certified water quality expert. Contact the professionals at Secondwind Water Systems to learn more about home water testing and treatment.
Home Water Testing & Treatment in NH
Secondwind Water Systems has been providing residential home water testing and treatment in New Hampshire for over 30 years. To learn more about our home, business, and public water solutions, call us at 603.641.5767 or visit us online.