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Reusing Plastic Bottles Can Pose Serious Health Hazards

1154 words - 5 pages

The three R's - reduce, reuse and recycle - all help to cut down on the amount of waste we throw away. They conserve natural resources, landfill space and energy. Plus, the three R's save land and money communities must use to dispose of waste in landfills. Every week we recycle our paper and plastics in order to reduce waste material. Many of use also reuse certain items over and over again – items such as plastic bags, paper, and water bottles. However, not many people realize that reusing some items without proper care can be hazardous to their health. An experiment with reused water bottles shows that bacteria will build up over time in bottles that are not frequently washed. This buildup of bacteria can be relatively harmless or, if enough bacteria is present, can impact a person’s health.

If someone were to be in space looking down at Earth, they would see a world dominated by water.
Water is the most unique and important resource on our planet and yet it is also the resource most taken for granted. While we live in a world that is over half water, very little of that water is safe for human consumption. While fresh water is spread throughout the world, some countries risk their health by drinking toxic water full of bacteria and hazardous chemicals. In America, our fresh water supplies are treated in order to kill any bacteria or other chemical hazards in the water. However, without realizing it, Americans drink water filled with bacteria all the time. By drinking from reused water bottles, people are consuming more bacteria-filled water.

Bacteria in itself is not always bad, in fact bacteria plays an important role to our global ecosystem, breaking down materials to that may be harmful for earth. Surprisingly, bacteria plays a role in fueling oxygen, by acting as a decomposer that releases chemicals such as carbon and nitrogen from the earth and dead organisms, creating carbon dioxide which, in turn, give plants the nutrients they need to produce oxygen (Waggoner and Speer). Bacteria can also cause a negative reaction to the earth, producing harmful gases that can lead to infertile soil and infected water. Bacteria can also directly harm humans by spreading diseases such the Black Plague, which was caused by bacteria named Yersinia pestis (Favor 6). Bacteria consist of many different types, some lethal like the Yersinia pestis and some that have little to no effect on humans.

Studies show that using plastic water bottles that are meant to be used temporarily, such ones that can be purchased already filled in stores, are more liable to end up as a health risk. There are multiple risks to reusing plastic bottles, the main risks include chemicals in the plastic leaking into the liquid inside the bottle, and the other being the buildup of bacteria in water bottle. While the later is discussed more so than the former, it is important to note that some plastics, when repeatedly washed, break down and release chemicals that...

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