Archive for December, 2020

6 Simple Ways to Reduce Plastic Use

Posted by Rayne Water

Reducing your plastic use is one of the best ways to reduce your carbon footprint and live a more sustainable life. While it may seem difficult to find ways to reduce plastic use, it can actually be quite easy! There are also some surprising benefits that come with cutting your plastic use, including saving money and becoming more intentional about the products you buy. 

Let’s dive into our top ways to reduce plastic waste and start giving back to the environment!

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#1. Ditch the Plastic Straw

Plastic straws are everywhere, including in the environment. Single-use plastics like straws are a massive source of pollution, and an easy way you can quickly limit your environmental impact. If you don’t need to use a straw, don’t use one. Let your restaurant server know that you don’t need a straw, and consider bringing your own cup for coffee or beverages while on-the-go. If you do need one, use a reusable straw constructed from sustainable materials such as bamboo or stainless steel. 

#2. Use Reusable Bags

An easy way to reduce your plastic use is to use reusable bags for grocery shopping rather than a single-use plastic bag. Reusable bags are affordable, easy to store, and versatile. Be sure to keep them in your car so you’ll always have them handy for groceries or other items you need to transport. Those reusable bags are perfect for holiday shopping trips as well. Looking for more tips on how to be sustainable on holiday? Check out our guide on the subject!

#3. Buy in Bulk

A major culprit in the amount of plastic Americans throw away is food packaging. But cutting down on food packaging can be a difficult challenge. While there are advanced strategies you can employ to really cut down on your food packaging, a simple step you can do is to buy in bulk where possible. Buying staples like rice, flour, and beans in bulk is both a great way to cut down on plastic and save money.

Be sure to invest in a suitable glass storage solution for the items you are buying in bulk. Proper storage will ensure your staples stay good for longer periods of time, cutting down on the amount of food you waste. 

Also consider shopping at your local farmer’s market for weekly groceries. Locally produced goods will typically lack the excessive packaging of items found at a major grocery store chain, and you’ll be supporting a local community member!

#4. Filter Your Own Water

Ditch the bottled water and start filtering your own water to really make a dent in your plastic usage! Filtering your own water in your home or office will give you access to great-tasting drinking water that costs hundreds of times less than the average bottle of water. 

In addition to saving you money, filtering your own water gives you greater control over what’s in your water. That’s because you’re filtering tap water, which is more closely regulated than what’s in the bottled water you buy at the store. By filtering your own water you’ll have access to a nearly unlimited supply of consistently clean, filtered drinking water on demand.

Encourage your office to make the swap to on-site filtration as well. Office water filtration systems offer a more sustainable drinking water solution that also saves money in the long-run. Looking for more green office environment tips? Check out our handy guide on the subject.

#5. Get a Reusable Water Bottle

Once you start filtering your own water, you’ll need some way to transport it. Ditch the single-use plastic bottles and get a reusable water bottle. Reusable bottles are a great way to stay hydrated on-the-go without negatively impacting the environment. Love cold water? Get an insulated reusable bottle so your water stays cold and fresh all day long.

Making the swap to a reusable bottle can benefit your health as well. Plastics can leach chemicals into the products they hold. While bisphenol A (BPA) isn’t seen as often anymore in single-use plastic bottles, polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles can also leech a potentially toxic substance known as antimony. 

Your best bet for avoiding chemicals leaching from plastic bottles is to avoid them entirely. If you do have to use a plastic bottle for your drinking water, always store it in a cool location out of direct sunlight. Want to learn more about the potential health impacts of a plastic water bottle? Head over to our guide on the dangers of plastic water bottles!

#6. Mindfully Shop

Sadly, much of the plastic that we use doesn’t end up recycled. Addressing that problem is one way that you can reduce your impact on the environment. While avoiding plastic-laden food packaging and using a reusable bag will help you make progress, it can be very difficult to entirely avoid plastic packaging.

If you’re wondering how to reduce plastic use for the long-term, practice mindfully shopping for the products you use. Buying in bulk, avoiding individually packaged items, and seeking out items that have been packaged sustainably can all help you reduce your plastic use.

Closing Thoughts

If you’re just starting out with reducing your plastic use, the process can seem a bit overwhelming! Don’t try to do everything at once, but rather focus on an area you can improve and work to improve it. Once you’ve addressed one aspect of your lifestyle that’s generating plastic packaging waste, such as single-use plastic drinking bottles, turn your attention to the next. Approaching the process of reducing your plastic usage methodically will help set the stage for life-long results!

If you’re looking for a more sustainable drinking water solution, Rayne Water can help! We have decades of experience helping residential and business customers produce great-tasting, filtered water in their own home or office, and we’d love to help you find a solution that fits your needs! To learn more, contract us today!

Sources:

  1. “8 simple ways to reduce your plastic use” https://www.nbcnews.com/better/lifestyle/8-simple-ways-reduce-your-plastic-use-ncna984396
  2. “Reducing Plastic as a Family Is Easy. Here’s How.” https://www.nationalgeographic.com/news/2018/06/reduce-plastic-use-families-kids-environment-culture/
  3. “4 Ways To Reduce Plastics And Other Single-Use Disposables In Your Kitchen”https://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2019/03/10/701684123/commentary-4-ways-to-reduce-plastics-and-other-single-use-disposables-in-your-ki
  4. “Eight Easy Ways to Reduce Your Plastic Waste” https://www.audubon.org/news/eight-easy-ways-reduce-your-plastic-waste
  5. “9 Ways to Cut Down on Plastic” https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/16/style/plastic-how-to-use-less.html

 

Dangers of Drinking Water from Plastic Water Bottles

Posted by Rayne Water

 

*Reviewed by Ken Christopher, Senior Vice President at Rayne Dealership Corporation

Health-conscious consumers have been shying away from single-use plastic water bottles for years, both due to their environmental impact and potential health impacts. But are plastic bottles bad, and if so, what are the dangers of drinking from plastic water bottles? The answers to these questions are complex. 

Though nearly every authority agrees that the dramatic turn towards single-use plastic water bottles over the last few decades has resulted in a massive rise in plastic waste, the potential health impacts of drinking bottled water are more ambiguous. While proponents within the plastic water bottle industry argue that drinking water from plastic bottles is safe to consume, advocates outside of the industry tell a different story. 

Let’s take a closer look to discern whether drinking water from plastic bottles is safe, and if it isn’t what you can do to protect your health and the health of your family.

BPA-Free?

The primary criticism you’ll see leveraged at plastic water bottles circles around the compound bisphenol A, otherwise known by its acronym ‘BPA’. BPA was first developed in the 1890’s as a synthetic estrogen, but it wasn’t until the 1950’s that it began to see use in early epoxy resins. Shortly thereafter, major manufacturers discovered that, when used in specific ways, BPA could produce a type of plastic known as polycarbonate. 

Polycarbonate was attractive due to the fact that it was both hard and shiny, which made it great for use in a variety of products including drinking cups. Within a short period of time, BPA was being used in a large number of products, many of which were outside of the beverage industry. 

Uses of BPA included:

Many of these products still contain BPA today, unless they are specifically noted to be “BPA-free”. In the United States, the use of BPA in food products is regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It is notable that currently, BPA is only banned in specific products for babies like sippy cups and formula packaging. 

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How Common is BPA?

It’s difficult to assess how widespread BPA is in both the products we use and the environment in general. A 2003-2004 study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that, of around 2,500 people tested, around 93% had detectable levels of BPA in their system. 

Detectable levels of BPA have been found in the urine of nearly all adults and children tested in the United States. These include individuals living in both rural and urban environments, in the tissue of pregnant women, their breast milk, amniotic fluid, and in developing fetuses. BPA exposure isn’t limited to one geographic area, but exposure can be greater in certain regions or countries. For example,higher BPA levels were found in women who had lived their entire lives within the United States versus women who had immigrated from Mexico. 

Despite consumer-led pressure to move towards a “BPA-free” world, the use of BPA in a variety of products remains widespread. In 2002 around 2.8 metric tons of BPA was produced for use in a variety of industries. By 2011 nearly 5.5 metric tons were produced.

What are the Health Impacts of BPA Exposure?

BPA is considered an endocrine disrupting compound, which means that it can disrupt how hormones normally function in your body. This can have profound, and lasting effects. While little was known about the health effects of BPA 20 years ago, many studies have since been released that point towards potential health impacts in humans.

Many studies in animals have demonstrated the BPA can result in negative effects on reproduction, development, and metabolic function. More recently, a slew of studies focusing on human health impacts have linked BPA exposure to negative human health outcomes. A meta-analysis of these studies conducted in 2013 found that BPA may be associated with the following negative health impacts:

Exposure during gestation and the early development stages of children is particularly concerning. Potential impacts include:

The more profound and lasting effects of BPA exposure seem to stem from exposure occurring during key developmental windows in children, with effects resulting throughout or later in life.

What About “BPA-Free” Plastics?

The fundamental challenge in understanding whether chemical exposure can lead to negative health impacts lies in the delay between exposure and the health effects from that exposure, as well as the length of time it takes to conduct studies on the chemical and possible impacts. Consider that BPA has been widely used in packaging since the 1950’s, yet only in the last few years have a number of studies come out that draw a clear link between BPA exposure and health impacts in humans.

That same challenge lies at the heart of whether “BPA-free” plastics pose a health risk. In the face of public pressure to move away from BPA-plastics, manufacturers began exploring alternatives. Nearly all of these alternatives contain bisphenol, the “BP” in “BPA”. BPAF, BPS, BPZ, and BPP are just a few examples of BPA-alternatives that are now being used in some “BPA-free” plastics.

While little is known about whether these BPA-alternatives result in negative health outcomes in humans, early evidence suggests that this may be the case. A meta-analysis of BPA and BPA-alternatives conducted in 2018 suggests that BPA-analogs may similarly result in disruptions to reproductive functions as BPA.

In response to the cry for BPA-free plastics, many bottled water producers turned to polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles. These plastic bottles can also leach a toxic substance, antimony, into the water they hold. Like BPA, the rate that the chemical leaches into the water is dependent on the temperature it is stored at. However, unlike BPA, PET bottles must be stored in very hot conditions for long periods of time, up to 38 days, until levels of antimony exceed safety thresholds.

A Better Alternative

To limit exposure to BPA and BPA alternatives in drinking water and reduce plastic use, consider using a glass or steel container for drinking water on-the-go. Though avoiding BPA specifically in drinking water containers is possible thanks to the rise of BPA-free plastics, tracking which chemicals those plastics do contain can be challenging. Experts recommend avoiding plastics with the recycling numbers 3, 6, and 7 to start. But the best alternative is to simply abandon plastic containers for drinking water entirely.

If you’re like many people who source their drinking water exclusively from single-use or 5-gallon plastic water bottles, you’ll need to address the root of the problem. Here are a couple of ways that you can easily make the swap away from plastic water bottles:

Transitioning away from bottled water also carries with it some great benefits, including:

Closing Thoughts

The dangers of plastic water bottles stem from the chemicals used to manufacture the bottles. As plastic bottles heat up, the molecules in the bottle move around more rapidly and can leach into the products they hold. While the focus has mostly remained on the dangers of BPA-containing plastics, a new movement towards plastics containing BPA-analogs has given rise to additional ongoing risks associated with plastic containers.

Though eliminating bottled drinking water won’t eliminate your exposure to BPA and BPA-analogs given their widespread use in food packaging and other industries, it will lessen your exposure to any chemicals that may leach from your bottles into your water. Whether it’s BPA, BPS or other BPA alternatives, or antimony found in PET bottles, transitioning to glass or steel containers for your water is an easy way to reduce your exposure.

Transitioning away from plastic water bottles also carries other benefits, such as lower-cost drinking water, reduced environmental impact, and greater control over contaminants. If you’re curious about cost-effective water treatment options for your home or business, contact us at Rayne Water today. With decades of experience working in water treatment, we’d love to help you find a safer, cost-effective alternative to bottled water.

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Sources:

  1. “Exposed to extreme heat, plastic bottles may ultimately become unsafe” https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/2019/07/exposed-to-extreme-heat-plastic-bottles-may-become-unsafe-over-time/
  2. “Why ‘BPA Free’ May Not Mean a Plastic Product Is Safe” https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/2018/09/news-BPA-free-plastic-safety-chemicals-health/
  3. “Antimony leaching from polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic used for bottled drinking water” https://doi.org/10.1016/j.watres.2007.07.048
  4. “Effects of bisphenol A and its analogs on reproductive health: A mini review” https://doi.org/10.1016/j.reprotox.2018.06.005
  5. “Bisphenol A and human health: A review of the literature” https://doi.org/10.1016/j.reprotox.2013.08.008
  6. “Exposure of the U.S. population to bisphenol A and 4-tertiary-octylphenol: 2003-2004” https://doi.org/10.1289/ehp.10753
  7. “Left your bottled water in a hot car? Drink it with caution, some experts say” https://www.today.com/health/bottled-water-hot-plastic-may-leach-chemicals-some-experts-say-t132687

Expert Reviewer – Ken Christopher

8 Green Office Environment Tips

Posted by Rayne Water

If you’re looking for ways to go green in the office, it can be daunting to know where to start. From sustainably built office furniture to green energy and everything in between, going green can be a big task!

That’s why we’ve assembled our top green office environment tips that you can use to create a more sustainable, ecologically-minded workplace. 

#1. Go Paperless

Cutting paper usage is a great way for businesses of all sizes to immediately reduce their carbon footprint. Paper makes up nearly 90% of office waste in the United States, so even reductions to your printing will produce results.

With cloud-based collaborative application suites like Office 365 and Google Suite, transitioning to a paperless office environment has never been easier. Seek out creative solutions leveraging technology when you run into a roadblock. Members of your team having difficulty without a paper meeting agenda? Use a tablet for agenda items, or allow employees to pull up their agenda on their phone. 

To truly go paperless, your office will need to strongly embrace digital spaces and tools. Encouraging employees to store, share, and work on files digitally can bring additional benefits, such as increased productivity and visibility into ongoing projects. You’ll also save money on printing consumables like paper and toner, as well as reduce your overall energy consumption.

#2. Consider Green Power

If you haven’t yet, you may want to consider investing into a green energy solution for your office. While it isn’t always feasible for small or medium businesses to generate their own sustainable energy, many electricity producers offer sustainable energy plans. 

Sustainable energy plans source a portion or all of your energy from renewable resources like wind and solar energy, allowing you to easily and conveniently reduce your environmental impact. Alternatively, if you live in a deregulated electricity market you may simply be able to shop around for a power provider that offers renewably sourced power.

While energy from sustainable sources such as wind and solar may come at a higher rate, sourcing all of your energy from a green source offers businesses that aren’t able to invest in physical infrastructure, such as on-site solar panels, the ability to reduce their carbon footprint. At the same time, sustainable energy plans help encourage investment into renewable energy infrastructure, which makes them a great way to invest in long-term sustainability.

 

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#3. Power Down

If you’re looking for environmentally friendly ideas for offices, one easy-to-implement tip is to completely power down your computers and office equipment at the end of every workday and weekends. While some critical equipment must be kept running at all times, most office equipment and desktop computers should be shut down each evening. 

In addition to creating a strict powering-down policy in your office, it’s a good idea to make sure that your computers and office equipment have the correct energy-saving settings. Configuring and managing energy-savings settings at the institution-level will result in the most consistent results. 

Tuning your thermostat settings can also offer energy savings. Many offices have their thermostat set very low during the summer, and very high during the winter. Consider installing a programmable thermostat and changing to 78°F during the summer, and 68°F during the winter when your office is occupied.

#4. Go Bottleless

Bottled water solutions for office environments may be increasing your carbon footprint more than you realize. Bottled water delivery services result in greenhouse gas emissions at each stage of the process, from manufacturing the bottle to transporting it to your office. Though bottled water delivery services are far more expensive than tap water, easy access to drinking water is a perk all employees love. 

The solution is to go bottleless with a bottleless water cooler! Bottleless water coolers have roughly the same form factor as your familiar office cooler, but eliminate the heavy and unwieldy bottles entirely. Bottleless water coolers filter tap water on-demand to produce as many gallons of clean, filtered drinking water as your office needs each day. Plus, if you’re trying to create a green office, you’ll want to encourage your employees to reduce plastic use and bring their reusable bottles to work.

Bottleless coolers filter out a wide range of contaminants that may be in your tap water by using two different filtration methods; reverse osmosis and activated carbon. The combination of these filtration methods produces a nearly unlimited supply of crisp tasting, filtered drinking water at a fraction of the cost of bottled water.

Whether you’re looking to reduce your office’s environmental impact, minimize the dangers of plastic water bottles, or simply save money on your drinking water, a Rayne Water bottleless water cooler is a great option.

#5. Create a Green Team

Want to maximize the reach and impact of your quest for a green office? One of the best ways to do so is to create a team of employees to manage and implement the project. Known as sustainability or green teams, these teams of employees engage with peers in an organization to build awareness about sustainability initiatives, provide mentoring and training, and encourage awareness and engagement.

Creating a green team is an easy way your business can begin working toward a green office. Employee-led sustainability teams are an unbeatable way to encourage employee buy-in for green office programs. Empowering members of the group to design and implement new programs, such as company-wide training on how to be sustainable on holiday or how to cut plastic usage, ensures that the program is tackling office sustainability issues that your employees want to see first.

#6. Reduce Indoor Pollution

To create a more environmentally-friendly office environment, get a couple of large indoor plants and encourage your employees to keep a plant on their desk. Indoor plants are great for creating healthier indoor air quality. That can be important in stuffy offices, or offices without environmentally friendly furniture. 

The extra oxygen indoor plants produce can help counter the off-gassing of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from office furniture. As part of your effort to go green, you’ll want to look at how your office furniture is made and what the potential health impact of it is. Understanding that your office furniture, as well as your carpet and paint, is probably polluting your indoor air is an important first step towards mitigating the effects of that pollution. 

Lastly, invest in non-toxic cleaning supplies for your office. While it may be tempting to purchase the most powerful degreaser possible, the chemicals in that cleaner may be doing more harm than good. Thankfully, there are excellent non-toxic cleaning products out there that are more than capable of keeping your office space clean and smelling fresh, with an added benefit of improving your office’s indoor air quality.

#7. Lighting

To effectively transition towards a green office, you’ll want to maximize your use of natural lighting and minimize your use of artificial light. Artificial light accounts for a significant amount of energy usage in a typical office, and there are some quick and easy solutions you can implement to see real results.

Try these tips to reduce office energy consumption:

#8. HVAC

We’ve already mentioned that you should consider installing a programmable thermostat, but you’ll also need to maintain your HVAC system to maximize your energy efficiency. You probably don’t realize it, but most HVAC ducting passes through unconditioned spaces of your office building. Leaky ducting can lose a significant amount of heat through those cracks, which is simply wasted. Because of this, be sure to have your HVAC ducting inspected on a regular basis to ensure any leaks are identified and fixed so you’re not just wasting money.

Also be sure to have your HVAC system tuned up and calibrated each year by a qualified technician. A yearly tuneup of your system can improve efficiency and ensure it’s more effectively heating or cooling your office. Make changing your air filter a regular part of your HVAC maintenance routine as well. If you live in fire-prone areas like Southern California, you’ll need to replace your air filters more frequently.

Closing Thoughts

Transitioning to a green office is a great way to encourage employee engagement by working together to create a better environment. We’ve outlined some of our top tips for creating a green office, including transitioning to a sustainable energy plan, creating a green team to design and implement sustainability initiatives, and ensuring taking steps to ensure your lighting, HVAC, and furniture are encouraging a healthy working environment.

One of the best ways to go green in an office and give back to your employees is with a bottleless water cooler. Bottleless coolers are more environmentally friendly than bottled water delivery services, yet are capable of producing a nearly endless amount of filtered drinking water each day. With a bottleless water cooler your office will save money and reduce your environmental impact, all while offering your employees the benefit of clean water on demand.

If you’re looking to reduce your office’s environmental footprint, start with a Rayne Water bottleless water cooler. To learn more, contact us today!

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Sources:

  1. “Going green: 10 ways to make your office more eco-friendly and efficient” https://www.techrepublic.com/article/going-green-10-ways-to-make-your-office-more-eco-friendly-and-efficient/
  2. “Green Tips for the Office” https://www.thebalancesmb.com/going-green-ideas-for-the-office-2948097
  3. “Energy Savings Tips for Small Businesses: Offices — Owners and Tenants” https://www.energystar.gov/buildings/offices

 

How to Be Sustainable on Holiday

Posted by Rayne Water

The holidays are a time for us to celebrate, reflect, and spend time with those closest to us. However, the gift giving and decorating that accompany the holiday season lead to increased waste in the United States. 

For the many people searching for ways to live more sustainably throughout the year, the holiday season presents unique challenges. How do you honor traditions while still living sustainably? The good news is that it’s not as challenging as you may think. To help, we’ve outlined some easy-to-use tips you can implement in your life to reduce your waste and energy consumption, while still celebrating the holidays in a way that aligns with your traditions.

 

#1. Ditch Single-Use Plastics for Hosting

If you’re hosting a holiday party, the easiest solution is often to use single-use plastic cutlery, plates, and cups. While those offer quick cleanup, they aren’t recyclable which makes them a bad choice for the environment.

If it’s your turn to host, consider using reusable silverware, plates, and to-go containers for leftovers. You may have to spend a bit more time doing dishes, but you’ll help reduce plastic use.

A huge source for single-use plastic waste in the United States are water bottles. If you’re searching for ways to create a more sustainable home during the holidays, ditch those plastic water bottles and encourage visitors to bring a reusable bottle. Even better, fill their reusable bottles with water you filter in your home! 

Not only is home filtered water more cost-effective than bottled water, but it’s also a more sustainable choice. If you run into resistant relatives, talk to them about the dangers of plastic water bottles and consider giving the gift of a reusable water bottle.

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#2. Give Sustainable Gifts

If you’re searching for how to be sustainable on holiday, minimize the amount of waste that ends up in landfills by giving gifts that are more sustainable. Here are some things to look for in the gifts and toys you give this year:

 #3. Reuse and Recycle Gift Wrap

The best practice for a sustainable holiday is skip the gift wrapping altogether. That doesn’t mean you have to eliminate the element of surprise! The keys to sustainable holidays are creativity and flexibility. Creative solutions can yield a fun holiday experience without impacting the landfill, such as hiding your gift somewhere and using clues to lead the recipient.

If you’re a traditionalist and love to wrap your gifts, use these sustainable tips:

#4. Swap to LED

While we produce more waste during the holiday seasons, we also use more electricity. All of those lights and decorations can quickly add up and substantially increase your home’s electricity usage. 

If you’re looking to create a more sustainable home this holiday season, swap out your old lights with fresh LED lighting. A strand of LED Christmas lights only uses around 4 watts of power, while a traditional string of lights uses around 34 watts per strand. Not only will making the swap to LED help the environment, you’ll quickly realize the savings on your holiday utilities bills! Also be sure to set your Christmas lights on timers so that they’re visible at night, but not wasting energy throughout the day. 

If you’re looking for green office environment tips, be sure to make the swap to LED lighting and set timers on any office holiday decorations as well. But don’t stop there! Take a moment to read through our handy guide on how to create a more sustainable office environment through the holidays and beyond.

Closing Thoughts

Implementing more sustainable practices through the holiday season is a great way to reduce your home’s environmental impact. For a more sustainable holiday, give gifts that are long-lasting, made from sustainable materials, produced locally, or are regifted. Upgrade your traditional Christmas lights to more environmentally-friendly LED lighting, which will not only reduce your environmental impact but also lower your utility bills. 

Gift wrapping can sometimes be avoided altogether using creative methods, but if it can’t, be sure to reuse gift wrapping and avoid any metallic wrapping paper or bags that can’t be recycled. That goes for cards as well. Use paper cards that can be recycled where possible, and avoid plastic cards that can’t be recycled. If you’re hosting a party, avoid using single-use plastics like plastic silverware, plates, or water bottles. Instead use reusable silverware, plates, and drink containers.

Looking for even more ways to create a more sustainable home during the holidays and beyond? Ditch the plastic altogether and filter your own water! Filtering your own water can save you money while helping the environment. To find a water filtration solution that’s right for your needs, contact Rayne Water today!

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Sources:

  1. “The Most Common Holiday Recycling Mistakes” https://www.wsaw.com/2020/12/01/the-most-common-holiday-recycling-mistakes/
  2. “Sustainable Holidays” https://www.dec.ny.gov/chemical/8829.html
  3. “Green Your Holiday Season” https://green.harvard.edu/tools-resources/green-tip/green-your-holiday-season

 

Does Drinking Water Boost Your Immune System?

Posted by Rayne Water

 

*Reviewed by Ken Christopher, Senior Vice President at Rayne Dealership Corporation

It is more important than ever to ensure your immune system is operating at its best, but what’s the best way to do that? Experts recommend that you maintain healthy habits like not smoking, eating nutritious food, and exercising regularly. But does water help your immune system?

It’s a great question that has a complex answer. Let’s take a closer look at the relationship between hydration and immune system function. In doing so, we’ll also explore some of the other really important reasons that you should stay well-hydrated for your overall health.

Can Drinking Water Boost Your Immune System?

The short answer is no, drinking water can’t boost your immune system as far as we know. Though drinking water can’t “boost” your immune system, it does play an important role in supporting our existing immune system function. Our immune system is a complex network of interwoven parts, each functioning together to protect us against disease. 

Water plays a crucial role transporting nutrients between cells, helping our body eliminate waste efficiently, and facilitating detoxification. By fulfilling these functions, water helps support a healthy, well-functioning immune system.

However, it is also important to understand that staying well-hydrated is one part of maintaining a healthy and functioning immune system. Other actions people should take include:

How Much Water Should You Drink Each Day?

Recommendations for how much water you should drink each day vary depending on the source of information, your gender, size, and activity level. 

The University of California, Irvine’s Integrative Health Institution recommends drinking half of your body weight in ounces of water each day. So if you weigh 140 pounds, shoot for drinking 70 ounces each day. If you weigh 200 pounds, you need to drink around 100 ounces each day.

Keep in mind that you lose water each day through perspiration, and if you are working out regularly you will sweat more, and so may need to consume more water to stay adequately hydrated. Similarly, if you drink beverages that contain caffeine such as coffee or tea, you will need to drink additional water to replace the water lost due to the diuretic effects of caffeine. Other waters, such as speciality sports waters, aren’t generally necessary for proper hydration. If you’re wondering, “is alkaline water good for you?”, check out our recent article on the subject.

Also note that you’ll get some of the water you need each day through your diet. That’s particularly true if you are eating a nutritious and balanced diet that includes an adequate number of fresh fruits and vegetables, both of which are rich in water.

Benefits of Good Hydration

There are many powerful reasons why you should consider staying well-hydrated beyond supporting your immune system function. Hydration is at the core of how our bodies function, which means that the effects of dehydration extend far beyond increasing our risk of getting an upper-respiratory infection. 

Here are some of the top reasons you should consider keeping your drinking water bottle topped off:

Seek Out Good Water Sources

While it is critical to stay hydrated, it is also important to ensure the water we drink is free of potentially harmful contaminants and toxins.  Common contaminants in drinking water include:

Not only can contaminants like microbes cause acute illness in the short-term, but long-term exposure to contaminants like synthetic or organic chemicals, or heavy metals, can lead to organ damage or increase the risks of certain types of cancers. 

Because of this, it is crucial to not only drink an adequate amount of water, but also to ensure the water you drink has been appropriately treated for a wide range of potential contaminants and toxins. If you’d like to find out what’s in your water, consider scheduling an in-home water test or consulting your water supplier’s annual water quality report. These can tell you important information about your water, including the ph of tap water in your district and what types of contaminants are present.

Closing Thoughts

Adequate hydration is key to supporting a healthy, functioning immune system. Water facilitates the transfer of nutrients between cells, helps your body eliminate waste efficiently, and is crucial for the healthy function of our body’s organs and systems. 

Alongside a healthy lifestyle that includes proper nutrition, sufficient exercise, and adequate sleep, good hydration is a critical tool for ensuring your body’s immune system is functioning at its highest level. Supporting your immune system means eating good foods and drinking clean, filtered drinking water that is free from harmful contaminants.

To learn more about how to produce great-tasting drinking water cost-effectively in your own home, contact our team at Rayne Water today. We’ll help you find out what contaminants are in your water, and find you a treatment solution that fits your needs. 

Sources:

  1. “Stay Well-Hydrated for a Strong Immune System” https://ssihi.uci.edu/tip/hydration-for-immune-system/
  2. “Water, Hydration and Health” https://dx.doi.org/10.1111%2Fj.1753-4887.2010.00304.x
  3. “How to Boost Your Immune System” https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/how-to-boost-your-immune-system

Expert Reviewer – Ken Christopher

5 Contaminants in Your Drinking Water

Posted by Rayne Water

Do you know what’s in your drinking water? There are a wide range of contaminants in drinking water. This is true even for water that has undergone treatment, such as the water supplied by public water suppliers around the country. 

Gaining a better understanding of what contaminants are in your water, and what the potential impacts of those contaminants are on your health and your home, can help you make an informed decision about whether an in-home water treatment option is right for you.

Types of Contaminants in Drinking Water

You may not realize it, but there are quite a few contaminants that can be found in drinking water in the United States. While many of these contaminants can be treated for, and are usually removed before tap water reaches your house, mistakes that lead to exposure can and do occur.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA), which is the primary law by which federal drinking water standards are defined, classifies common contaminants in water as belonging to one of the following four categories:

The EPA defines a contaminant as any substance in one of these four categories that can be found in drinking water. This broad definition includes substances that may not cause a negative health impact, such as common types of minerals. However, many of the contaminants have been linked to negative health outcomes, such as damaging your immune system, causing organ damage, or elevating the risks of certain types of cancers over time. This reinforces the fact that, though water is crucial for our ongoing health, it is equally important to seek out good water sources. To learn more about the links between the water we drink and our health, check out our article that answers the question, “Can drinking water boost your immune system?”

Each category has many different contaminants within it. We’ll take a look at some of the most common pollutants found in drinking water in the United States, and note which type of contaminant they are, but if you’d like to find a more comprehensive list the EPA provides a complete table of contaminants covered by the National Primary Drinking Water Regulations (NPDWR). It is also worth noting that contaminants are regularly being evaluated to be added to the list through the EPA’s Contaminant Candidate List

#1. Microbes

Microbes are considered a biological contaminant, and consist of:

Microbes like those listed above pose one of the greatest threats to public safety through the modern drinking water system. Widespread outbreaks of waterborne diseases aren’t very common in the United States, but they do happen. For example, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine estimated that between 52,000 and 70,000 people in the United States are affected by Legionnaires disease, which is spread by the bacteria Legionella.

Legionnaires disease is the most common waterborne pathogen in the United States and highlights the limitations of the most common types of water treatments. While water can be treated for microbes at a specific point, it still must travel through a water delivery system to get to your home. Along the way, microbes such as Legionella can enter the water supply, often through biofilms that line the water delivery system. 

Reverse osmosis is the best available treatment in residential and commercial settings for microbe water contaminants.

#2. Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)

VOCs are a very common contaminant found in drinking water throughout the United States. A 2006 study on the quality of our national water supply found at least 1 of 55 VOCs in 90 of 98 aquifer studies across the United States, indicating that VOCs are widespread in the water sources for community water supplies.

VOCs are so common because they are in many of the products we use on a daily basis. These types of chemicals are found in fuels like gasoline and diesel, glues, cleaners, adhesives, as well as many types of plastics and rubbers. They are also used in the manufacturing of computers, refrigerators, skin lotions, and some pharmaceuticals.

Not only are VOCs common, but they are notable because they dissolve into groundwater and become persistent. Common VOCs include:

The best type of treatment for removing any VOCs in your drinking water is filtration through activated carbon. Activated carbon is excellent at trapping and removing organic compounds like VOCs from your drinking water. Activated carbon will restore a crisp, clean taste to your water and ensure potentially harmful solvents, refrigerants, and fuel additives have been removed.

 

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#3. Heavy Metals

The water crisis in Flint, Michigan brought the dangers of lead in community water supplies to the forefront of the nation’s consciousness. Heavy metals like lead can enter our water systems naturally, through erosion and runoff, or through aging water delivery systems. An example of the risks that aging plumbing poses can be found in testing in 2018 that found elevated levels of lead in drinking water at 11 schools in San Diego county. Those elevated levels of lead were attributed to aging pipes, water fountains, and sinks.

The most common heavy metal contaminants found in drinking water include:

Arsenic in particular is a very common contaminant that affects water in private drinking wells. Arsenic occurs naturally in the Earth’s crust and is widely used in a variety of industries. It can enter the water supply naturally, or through industrial and agricultural runoff. 

The best available treatment for heavy metals like arsenic and lead is reverse-osmosis. Ion-exchange units, commonly known as water softeners, can also remove some types of heavy metals like arsenic and copper. 

Water softeners can also be used to reduce the content of hard minerals in your water, which can affect its alkalinity. Water softeners can be a great option if you are concerned about the ph of tap water. If you are wondering, “is alkaline water good for you?”, check out our article on the subject!

#4. Disinfectants and Disinfection By-Products (DBPs)

When most people think of contaminants in their drinking water, they typically aren’t thinking about the products used to treat their water. This is a mistake. Not only do disinfectants alter the taste and smell of water, but they can also react with organic material in the water to form new substances that pose a potential health impact.

To be sure, disinfectants like chlorine and chloramine are crucial for modern public water supplies. Up until the use of chlorine to disinfect water, public drinking water supplies posed an enormous health risk. With the introduction of disinfectants, widespread outbreaks of waterborne pathogens largely became a thing of the past, saving many thousands of lives every year.

While disinfectants provide a great benefit, it comes at a price. That price comes in the form of by-products, which are primarily four trihalomethanes (THMs). These are:

Of these, chloroform and bromodichloromethane are classified as possibly carcinogenic in humans. In addition to these four chemicals, the addition of chlorine to drinking water produces over 600 other compounds.

The best water treatment option for disinfectants and DBPs is granulated activated carbon (GAC) filtration.

#5. Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS)

PFAS are a group of chemicals that are only fairly recently coming to light as a potential health risk in our drinking water, despite their fairly widespread use for the past 80 years. Typically found around military installations, industrial sites, and manufacturing facilities, PFAS are a large group of synthetic compounds that are sometimes also referred to as “GenX chemicals”.

PFAS are notable for their persistence in the environment and widespread detectability. One widely referenced study of blood serum across the United States between 1999 and 2012 found detectable levels of PFAS in 99% of all samples, which points to the fact that PFAS aren’t just widespread in our environment but also in our bodies.

Little is really understood at this point about exactly how widespread PFAS are in our environment and drinking water systems, how they affect our health, or even the most common pathways that these chemicals enter drinking water.

Animal studies of chemicals in the PFA grouping point towards health effects that include:

There are currently no Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCLs) defined for PFA chemicals under the SDWA, meaning that these chemicals are being monitored but not necessarily treated for. However, the EPA is moving forward with developing a MCL for PFAS, which is good news. 

In the meantime, if you want to ensure you and your family are protected against PFAS in your water, the best available treatments according to the EPA are activated carbon filtration and ion-exchange systems, which can remove up to 100% of PFAS in drinking water depending on the system.

Closing Thoughts

We’ve outlined five of the most common types of contaminants that are found in drinking water in the United States. While microbes like Legionella have the potential to cause the most widespread and acute harm, organic chemicals and compounds like VOCs, synthetic chemicals like PFAS, and even heavy metals like lead and copper can all be found at detectable levels in many tap water systems around the country.

Perhaps the most difficult aspect of controlling contaminants in drinking water is that they can rise at any time, and any rise in contaminant levels is rarely caught in real time. Achieving ongoing protection against a wide range of contaminants requires treating drinking water once it arrives in your home. This ensures you capture contaminants that may have entered your water supply after it has been treated, while also removing contaminants that may have been missed during the treatment process.

If you’re curious about a clean water treatment solution for your home, reach out to our team at Rayne Water today. We’ve been helping residential and commercial customers get clean, filtered, and safe drinking water since 1928, and we’d love to help you find a solution that’s right for your needs. To learn more, contact us.

 

Sources:

  1. “National Primary Drinking Water Regulations – Complete Table” https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2016-06/documents/npwdr_complete_table.pdf
  2. “EPA’s PFAS Action Plan” https://www.epa.gov/pfas/epas-pfas-action-plan
  3. “Types of Drinking Water Contaminants” https://www.epa.gov/ccl/types-drinking-water-contaminants#:~:text=These%20contaminants%20may%20be%20naturally,as%20microbes%20or%20microbiological%20contaminants.
  4. “Microbial Contaminants – CCL 4” https://www.epa.gov/ccl/microbial-contaminants-ccl-4