Graphic by Nate Barton
Carrying plastic water bottles is really convenient. They are light and can be very small, which barely adds any extra weight or space in school backpacks or purses. If they become heavy, throwing them away is an option; when thirsty, it is easy to buy another one anywhere. However, disregarding the convenience aspect of plastic water bottles, they truly harm human health and the environment. Other alternatives to plastic water bottles are ideal to preserve one’s health and the environment.
Plastic in water bottles release several toxic chemicals that can negatively impact one’s health. Refilling plastic water bottles is especially dangerous. Studies have shown that there are so many bacteria in plastic water bottles that it is as bad as licking a dog’s toy or a toilet seat.
“Based on the findings, more than 300,000 colony-forming units of bacteria per square centimetre (CFU/sq cm) could be found in your water bottle,” according to Max Margan’s article “Is your water bottle making you sick? How drinking from one could be WORSE than licking your toilet seat,” published Aug. 12, 2016 by Daily Mail.
The toxins in plastic, such as phthalates, can lead to development problems and, in some cases, cancer and miscarriages, according to Trish Henry’s article “BPA, phthalate exposure may cause fertility problems,” published Oct. 15, 2013 by CNN.
The environment is also greatly affected by the production and use of plastic water bottles. Plastic bottles are the most common polluter on beaches and in the ocean, with more than 46,000 pieces of floating plastic by every square mile. It takes around 1,000 years to bio-degrade, but most of it is not bio-degradable, according to Norm Schriever’s article “Plastic Water Bottles Causing Flood of Harm to Our Environment,” published July 29, 2013 by The Huffington Post.
Moreover, about 1.5 million gallons of oil are necessary to manufacture water bottles in the United States, and two million tons of disposed water bottles are overflowing U.S. landfills, according to The Water Project.
There are many alternatives to plastic water bottles. Glass water bottles, stainless steel, hydro flasks or a Klean Kanteen are great solutions. They are certainly more economic than getting a new plastic water bottle every day, and a lot safer, as the number of germs are substantially fewer and there will be no need to worry about having chemicals and toxic substances being released to water.
Follow Carolina Pinto on Twitter: @caroli_mmp