Few people think about just how much plastic we use every day, but should.
Plastics are hard to avoid. They are not just used in water bottles; they are in synthetic materials used to make clothing, in containers that hold our food, and in toys our kids play with. Now a study conducted by the non-profit organization Orb Media indicates that the world’s dependence on plastics may have consequences that most people have never imagined. Researchers indicate that they discovered over 80 percent of 159 tap water samples from 14 different countries are contaminated with plastic fibers.
How does plastic get in our water? Some experts theorize that since plastic doesn’t biodegrade, over time it breaks into small particles, which could then end up in our drinking water sources.
Mary Kosuth is a researcher at the University of Minnesota and was involved in the tap water testing. She reports that while little plastic fibers may not sound dangerous, they have the ability to absorb toxic chemicals.
During the testing, it was discovered that the United States has the highest level of fibers in drinking water. Close to 95 percent of tap water samples in the U.S had microscopic plastic fibers. The United States also happens to use more plastic than any other country.
While the source of plastics in water is still a theory, more research is expected to confirm where most of the plastic fibers are coming from. As Kosuth has pointed out, recognizing the problem is the first step and once a source is determined, the world can go about developing ways to deal with it. Kosuth doesn’t want to alarm people, but believes her discovery means that there are likely plastic fibers in a lot of the foods we consume, such as pasta, fish, juice, tea and coffee.
Researchers like Kosuth hope sharing information like the results of worldwide tap water testing, will get people talking more about plastics and whether this is really the environment we should be living in.
Sparta Environmental is excited to be working on technologies and processes to reuse plastics. In the meantime, the company’s Illumineris division continues to grow. Recently, the Vancouver Airport Authority selected Illumineris and the Glo Brite energy saving technology for use at the airport. Installation is now underway. This is the second Canadian airport to utilize the Glo Brite technology. The product not only makes sense for airports. Illumineris has provided photoluminescent exit signs and egress pathway markings to other travel hubs like Toronto’s Union Station.