Drink More Tap Water? I recently saw that advised in an article. It got me thinking about all the contaminants found in tap waters. My initial thought was, “That’s not good advice.” Especially if the tap water is unsafe to drink.
But I get it. The dominant reason why some drink more tap water is to avoid dangerous plastic compounds in bottled water. However, could these micro-plastics also exist in tap water?
The science may actually shock you.
Plastics are everywhere, you can’t seem to avoid them. When you discover the harmful chemicals plastics are made from, you’ll understand why you need to take steps to avoid them. We use plastics for convenience, but my friend in this case convenience is not your friend. We need to be more careful in our use of plastics at home as well as in industrial manufacturing.
The advice to drink more tap water is ill-advised, because tap water could be ladened with harmful plastic chemicals. It must be filtered properly at the kitchen tap first. Here’s why…
Dangerous “Forever Chemicals” in Tap Water
Let’s get scientific for a moment. The EPA website informs us that, “Per- and PolyFluoroAlkyl (PFAS) substances are a group of man-made chemicals that includes PerFluoroOctanoic Acid (PFOA), PerFluoroOctane Sulfonate (PFOS), GenX, and many other chemicals.”
These are commonly as “forever chemicals” and it is these chemicals that plastics are made of.
They have been manufactured and used in a variety of industries since the 1940s. PFOA and PFOS are the most produced and studied of these chemicals. Both harmful chemicals are persistent in the environment and in the human body. They don’t break down, while they accumulate and remain in the body for long periods of time.
How Do Plastics Enter Your Body?
Most people have been exposed to PFAS. You use PFAS chemicals on a daily basis through products like nonstick cookware (e.g., Teflon), pizza boxes, food packaging, polishes, waxes, paints, cleaning products, and stain repellants.
PFAS can also be released into the air, soil, and water, including vital sources of drinking water.
A Canadian study published in June 2019 found people unknowingly consume at least 50,000 plastic particles per year. This figure could be much higher since only 15% of the foods in a typical diet were analyzed.
A similar yet more shocking Australian study showed the average person ingested 5g of plastic per week, which is the equivalent of a credit card size.
Do you see why I think “Drink More Tap Water” could be ill-advised?
In my view it should be “Drink More Properly Filtered Tap Water.”
Diseases Linked To PFAS
There is evidence that exposure to PFAS can lead to adverse health effects. Studies indicate that PFOA and PFOS can cause reproductive and developmental, liver and kidney, and immunological effects in laboratory animals. Both chemicals caused tumors in animals. The most consistent findings are increased cholesterol levels among exposed populations, with more limited findings related to:
- Low infant birth weights
- Effects on the immune system
- Cancer (for PFOA)
- Thyroid hormone disruption (for PFOS)
I mentioned GenX chemicals above, but what is it?
GenX is a trade name for a technology that is used to make high performance fluoropolymers (e.g., some nonstick coatings) without the use of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). HFPO dimer acid and its ammonium salt are the major chemicals associated with the GenX technology. GenX chemicals have been found in surface water, groundwater, finished drinking water, rainwater, and air emissions in some areas.
Health Risks of GenX
According to scientific studies GenX’s health risks include kidney and testicular cancer, liver function abnormalities, immunotoxicity, endocrine disruption, and disorders such a thyroid disease, high cholesterol, ulcerative colitis, and pregnancy-induced hypertension, as well as other conditions. (Source: https://www.c8sciencepanel.org)
Documents submitted by DuPont to the U.S. EPA indicate that GenX has been associated with increased risk of health effects in laboratory animal studies, including risks of cancer, increased weight, changes to the immune system and cholesterol levels, fluctuations in size of kidneys and livers, cancerous tumors in liver pancreas and testicles, and reproductive effects.
Link Between PFAS Contamination and The Coronavirus
June 2020, the CDC’s Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry released a report saying studies suggest that exposure to high levels of fluorinated compounds could suppress the immune system and increase the risk of getting COVID-19 and the severity of infection.
Studies have also shown that exposure to PFAS could reduce the effectiveness of childhood vaccines and adult flu vaccines.
This is not good in the current Global Pandemic of Covid-19.
Researchers in an authoritative opinion piece wrote, “Most concerning during this global pandemic … is that exposure to PFAS suppresses the ability of the immune system to make antibodies — the part of the immune system critically important in fighting COVID-19 and other infectious agents.”
They said, “Our studies have found that laboratory animals exposed to PFAS have decreased antibodies, verifying what we have seen in PFAS-exposed people and making us confident that PFAS are toxic to the immune system.”
It is now more critical than ever to reduce the use of these “forever chemicals” or to avoid them entirely.
What You Can Do To Avoid Plastics?
Let’s review some steps you can take to minimize these toxic plastic chemicals.
Grocery stores are full of these plastics, so begin to look there and see what you’re buying.
- Buy fresh foods not stored in plastics
- If you buy bottled water, buy the ones stored in glass bottles instead. (This can be pricey!)
- Do not microwave your food in plastic containers. This releases these dangerous chemicals into your meals. Use glass or microwaveable ceramics instead.
- Get a good air filter for your car and home, ventilate properly.
- And finally, tap water. You clean everything with it, your vegetables and fruit, including bathing in it. Know that these harmful chemicals exist in your tap water to some degree. So think about solutions like Whole House Water Purification. That’s for the serious folks, but you can also filter at the most used faucet—your kitchen tap. Install there, a reliable and thorough water filter to assure the elimination of these “forever chemicals.”
These are real solutions to tackle toxic plastics that are easy to do. With taking these step I would certainly advise you to drink a lot more “properly filtered tap water.”