Friday, March 1, 2013

bottled water: "the new social poison"

  Some 400,000 barrels of oil annually are used to manufacture the plastic that goes into the bottles that slake Australia's thirst for bottled water. In a 600ml plastic bottle, 200ml of oil has gone into its production. Imagine your water bottle filled a quarter of the way up with oil. That’s about how much oil was needed to produce the bottle.  For every 6 water bottles used only 1 or 2 gets recycled, the rest are sent to landfills or end up as trash on land, in rivers, lakes, estuaries and the ocean, taking many hundreds of years to disintegrate. After a yacht captain stumbled across the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in the late 1990s, scientists soon began finding similar patches of plastic waste in oceans Oceanic gyres (aka garbage patches).round the world. They've since identified at least five, each fed by currents that carry plastic bags, bottles and other trash into vast vortices of seawater known as gyres. Since most plastic isn't biodegradable, this trash keeps swirling around for years, often crumbling into smaller pieces but refusing to fully break down. Much like carbon dioxide emissions — which linger stubbornly in the sky as they fuel climate change — garbage patches have come to symbolize the effects of man-made pollution run amok.

And now, thanks to a new study by Australian scientists, we have a clearer picture of just how amok all this pelagic plastic really is. "These patches are not going away," says lead author Erik van Sebille, an oceanographer at the University of New South Wales, in a video statement about the study. "The garbage patches will stay there for at least the next thousand years." "Plastic is also the canary in the coal mine," he adds. "Poisonous chemicals, [which] are much more hazardous to the ecology, ride the currents in the same way and are actually absorbed by the plastic pellets.” Chemicals in the bottles themselves may leach into the water. For example, why do plastic water bottles have a ‘Used by date’? Water does not go off in rivers and lakes or in our taps so why does it have a used by date? Because plastic water bottles contain toxins that leach into the water, contaminating it and also affecting the taste. It’s that plastic taste you get occasionally. These toxins are several but the big one is Bisphenol A (BPA). There are more and more studies these days on this toxin and it has been linked to breast cancer, ADHD, autism, OBESITY, endocrine disorders. It is even nick-named the “second generation toxin”, because it’s our offspring who are exponentially harmed. Because plastic consumed during pregnancy is a major issue. Heating kids drinks and food in plastic just adds to the issue.

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