Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Do you want plastic in your drinking water?

Who wants to mix plastic balls in your drinking water and then let the whole mess sit and percolate in the hot sun for weeks or months?

You do? Really? Well you can have this to drink every day if you move to LA. And...this plastic cocktail is touted as a solution to a chemical problem, sunlight reacting with water treatment chemicals to form bromate.

Is there a toxic contamination concern from this plastic soaking in drinking water and in the sunlight. There's a fascinating exchange at an LA Times blog on this, and the answers range from "yes" to "no." Read the comments to get the exchange.

Some commenters favor faith in government and others mention the high-density polyethylene and possible chemical problems from trace contaminants and sunlight-caused breakdown. Since HDPE seems to be a fairly safe plastic, my biggest question is what makes those balls black? That, and were they made in China?

Strange brew indeed. I'd prefer not to have plastic in my drinking water. Just for fun, check out the surreal video of 400,000 shade balls being dumped into the drinking water reservoir, thank goodness the workers are wearing hard hats, those balls look dangerous!


Unknown said...

The drinking water lines to your house are either plastic or lead-soldered copper. Maybe you don't drink bottled water. Maybe you don't drink sodas, beer, or liquor. Maybe you were only breast fed.

Unless you live on a desert island, or drink only from mountain fed streams, you have plastics involved in bringing you those liquids.

What you should ask, is why LA insists in maintaining the few uncovered reservoirs in their drinking water systems, when they are forbidden in any *new* system.

And lest ye think this solves all the problems, biannually to semi-annually, reservoirs (covered or not) have to be (emptied and) cleaned of their internal biofilm, before it is able to netralize all the chlorine applied.

Seriously, lots more things to worry about than what that particular batch of politicians decided to do "for" you.

Mark Powell said...

Plastic is everywhere, and the comedy of these balls is an opener for people to realize the cavalier disregard that prevails regarding using plastics. I would not claim that these balls are the biggest problem, but the balls are one of the most video-genic plastic/water issues. Show me a funnier plastic/water video and I'll post it too.