Bradlynn Belcher, Campus Carrier staff writer

I try to be healthy by drinking water, but as a college student, I am always on the go. Whether that be going to a Cultural Events credit, going bowling with KCAB, or going to a Berry Pack the House event, I am constantly on the move. So, I buy plastic water bottles because they are a fast, easy, and convenient way to get the water I need. Obviously, I am not the only one. According to Aquasana, there are about 1.3 billion plastic water bottles used each day. That equates to about 1 million bottles every second.

What if I told you that these plastic bottles could be dangerous to your health?

We can see the damage that plastic is doing to the environment. When not properly disposed of, plastic can threaten wildlife and spread toxins to the air, water and soil that both people and wildlife need to survive. Seabirds will mistake plastic floating on water as food, and inadvertently die from ingesting it due to the carelessness of humans. The environmental impact of improperly disposed plastic is a big issue that needs our immediate attention. However, if that does not motivate you to stop using plastic disposable water bottles, I have an argument that may be the push you need to find more sustainable options.

Plastic water bottles not only damage the environment, but they damage our bodies as well.

Plastic water bottles contain microplastics. According to the National Ocean Service, microplastics are debris less than five millimeters long that can be ingested. According to CNN, People in the United States ingest roughly one credit card worth of microplastic into their bodies every week.

You read that correctly. The average American plastic diet is equivalent to eating one credit card per week. That is a weird image.

If you have gotten this far, I bet you are wondering why I am even telling you this in the first place. What does this have anything to do with plastic water bottles? Our bodies are strong, so what does it matter that we eat a little bit of plastic every week? 

The universal leading contributor to microplastic ingestion is mass produced plastic water bottles. According to TIME magazine, 93% of the most popular water bottle brands in the world leach toxic chemicals in the form of microplastics into the water, which is waiting to be ingested by humans.

Leaving a pack of water in your car during a hot summer day is all it takes for microplastic leaching to ensue. Like I said before, microplastics are less than five millimeters long, but sometimes the smallest of objects are the most dangerous. At the surface, these small pieces of plastic do not indicate a need for us to worry, however, toxic chemicals found in microplastics have been linked to infertility, endometrial cancers, precocious puberty, poly cystic ovary syndrome and heart diseases. 

Single use plastics, such as mass-produced plastic water bottles, contain components such as bisphenols and phthalates. These are susceptible to microplastic leaching, under the right stimuluses. By drinking out of these bottles, you could be severely hurting your own health. 

A study found in the National Library of Medicine draws the link between microplastic leaching and cardiovascular diseases. The study describes that plastic bottles contain Bisphenol A, which is a synthetic compound that can alter hormone homeostasis. A 10 year study determined that high exposure to BPA is connected to a 46 – 49% higher likelihood of cardiovascular molality as opposed to low exposure to BPA.

That is a horrifying statistic. Before I found this out, I was an avid plastic water bottle consumer. I always deemed that carrying around a reusable bottle was too inconvenient for me. After seeing these statistics, I am much more cautious about the plastic that I let into my body. I am not perfect, by any means, but I am making efforts to limit the microplastics ingested in my body, and I hope that this has encouraged you to do the same.

Posted by Campus Carrier

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