EDITORIAL: Educate yourself about your water


The average human body is roughly 60 percent water.

That number is even higher in infants, reaching as high as 78 percent. 

Every living cell in your body needs water to survive. It keeps your brain active and aware, your heart strong and pumping, ensures your digestion system is working properly and helps your skin stay bright and clear. It nourishes you and cleans you.

Even though it’s such a crucial and necessary part of our lives, most people, especially Americans, take the quality and cleanliness of our drinking water for granted. It's easy to assume that because you've always had easy access to clean drinking water your entire life, you always will. 

According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 780 million people worldwide do not have adequate access to clean drinking water. While Americans may not have to be concerned about access to clean water sources, we should be concerned about the possibility of our water being contaminated.

After the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality performed a water quality test in August 2017, Mount Pleasant became one of more than 30 sites in Michigan containing a contamination of per and polyfluoroalkyl substances — also known as PFAS.

PFAS is dangerous because chemicals within the PFAS family have been used in the manufacturing process of a variety of products including the foam used in fire suppression systems and products by Teflon and Scotchgard. The United States Environmental Protection Agency reports that long-term exposure to PFAS can cause pregnancy complications, liver damage, thyroid disease and cancer.

Luckily, the site the contamination was found in is no longer in use and there seems to be no immediate threat of PFAS in Mount Pleasant drinking water. However, PFAS has been found in dozens of other sites all over the state — which means some Michigan residents' drinking water could be unsafe.

Everyone knows Michigan is the Great Lakes state. Given that the state is surrounded by 20 percent of the world's supply of freshwater, it's hard to believe that so much of the state's drinking water could be contaminated.

Even harder to believe is the Flint Water Crisis. It is unacceptable a water crisis of that magnitude was able to occur in our modern and advanced society, let alone in the Great Lakes State.

Everyone, Michigan residents in particular, needs to be aware of the importance of water quality. The Flint Water Crisis should always be on everybody's minds. The threat of PFAS contamination is growing every year. This will not be the last time you hear about it.

Clean drinking water is not a given. We need to be aware of where our water is coming from, what's going into it, how it's being cleaned and how it's being distributed. 

Everyone should be educating themselves about the safety of their water. Read our cover story to learn more about Mount Pleasant's water. Do your own research on facilities like the Mount Pleasant Water Treatment Plant and the treatment plant in your hometown. 

Making sure we have clean water should be our highest priority. Water is life. Without it, we couldn't survive.