Being that the earth is 70% water, we expect to always have a good supply when we need it or simply want it. We take this resource for granted and have yet to learn about problems that not only affect our surroundings, but also affects the people. In 2016, Pepsi admitted that the bottled water brand, Aquafina, was not purified. Which means that they simply used tap water. (Ryan 2016) Because Aquafina was using tap water, they had to change their labels to indicate what they had done. “Aquafina is the single biggest bottled water brand, and its bottles are now labeled ‘P.W.S.’ The new labels will spell out ‘public water source.’” (Aquafina Changes Label to Identify Water Source 2007) Even though tap water is much cheaper, it could most likely be contaminated with “high levels fluoride and pharmaceuticals. And in the case of Flint, Michigan, dangerously high levels of lead.” (Ryan 2016) Contaminated water affects people globally, and sadly, companies like Pepsi Co. have contributed to this water poisoning.
Water poisoning is not only an issue in water bottles, it also affects neighborhoods. Neighborhoods like Pilsen are doing their part to alleviate this problem. The Pilsen Environmental Rights and Reform Organization distributed water filters and indicated how to install the filters. On September 23rd, 2017, the St. Pius V Parish passed out these filters to their residents and “the Pilsen Clean Water Expo also feature[d] chlorine test demonstrations and signups for water quality tests.” (Cheung 2017) They’re informing their neighborhoods and teaching them that it doesn’t matter how little lead is found in the water, it is still not safe.
Earlier this year, I heard on the news that kids at school were becoming sick. After further investigation, they found out that these kids had a percentage of lead in their systems. School were closed because kids could not drink from the fountains. “Elevated lead levels have been found in hundreds of water fixtures in Illinois’ second largest public-school district following an initial round of testing earlier this year.” (Masterson 2017) Kids were being poisoned without even knowing. “Nearly 350 sinks, coolers and water fountains tested in May for lead came back above Illinois’ actionable level, according to the Elgin-based U-46 School District, which notified parents last week about the testing results conducted at 37 of its 57 schools.” (Masterson 2017) Hanover Elementary had results of 1,690 ppb, while at Clinton Elementary had a result of 3,120 ppb. “More than 620 times higher than the state’s minimum action level.” (Masterson 2017) The way the school district is handling this situation is by making sure fixtures that were installed before 1987 to go through testing before 2017 ends. Apparently, if even a water fountain has more than 5 ppb, it would be shut off. Hopefully, all schools will be tested for lead, especially in neighborhoods with low income. All pipes should be examined and replaced if they are too old or rusted to prevent further contamination.
- Aquafina Changes Label to Identify Water Source. August 1. Accessed October 5, 2017. http://www.sustainableisgood.com/blog/2007/08/aquafina-change.html.
Cheung, Ariel. 2017. Pilsen Group Giving Away Free Water Filters At Clean Water Expo Saturday. September 22. Accessed October 5, 2017. https://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/20170922/pilsen/clean-water-expo-free-water-filters-saint-pius-parish-environmental-rights-reform-organization.
Masterson, Matt. 2017. Testing Reveals High Lead Levels in U-46 District Schools. July 14. Accessed October 5, 2017. http://chicagotonight.wttw.com/2017/07/14/testing-reveals-high-lead-levels-u-46-district-schools.
Ryan, Kate. 2016. Pepsi Admits Aquafina Bottled Water Is Plain Tap Water, AKA Straight Trash. February 25. Accessed October 5, 2017. https://www.elitedaily.com/news/pepsi-admits-aquafina-is-tap-water/1399698.