Drinking our (recycled) toilet water?
Mon Aug 29
We’ve all heard that our water sources are depleting. From headlines over poor water management to megadroughts, it’s clear that simply asking individual consumers to use water cautiously is not enough to move the needle. And if golf courses and agriculture also won’t move fast enough, what can be done?
Some see potential in recycling sewage water — yes, that same water we flushed 👀. It started in Singapore, when a water agency launched a new beer made from recycled sewage water. The launch campaign bolstered the spirits of water activists, and critically, many didn’t notice any quality difference.
Now, the U.K. is working on their own toilet-to-tap systems where sewage would drain into rivers for nearby treatment plants to clean well enough for drinking safely. The initial idea bubbled up in 2013, progressing further now as the country faces depleted rivers, reservoirs, and more. Currently, 11 of England’s 14 areas are officially in drought.
BELOW THE FOLD BYTES
We’ve long heard the value of drinking green tea, but little of black tea. That’s changing because new research suggests that two cups or more of black tea — with or without milk or sugar— resulted in up to a 13% decreased risk of mortality. And temperature doesn’t change this either. Taken hot or cold, the study found those who drank black tea daily saw these improvements in contrast to those who didn't drink any. But, the research did not establish black tea as the cause of lower mortality.
Sex and the Immune System
New research suggests that our biological sex matters when it comes to our immune system, a link previously dismissed. Findings thus far show how male and female immune systems respond differently to the flu, HIV, and even cancer therapies. Past drug studies have predominantly included men, which (dangerously) hid differences in side effects, dosage, and even efficacy between sexes and genders. Some findings even show that females receive greater protection from vaccines.
🎬 Action of the Week
Of course, we can all make small changes to help protect our water resources (outside of our political lives). Experts recommend showers over baths, cramming the dishwasher full before running, watering plants at night, and fixing any leaky pipes throughout your home or office spaces.
THIS WEEK'S SOURCES
- BBC: U.K. looks to toilets 4 days old | 4 minutes long
- Bloomberg: Singapore’s toilet beer 3 months old | 6 minutes long
ASCII-ING ABOUT THE NEWS
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I want to spread tea far and wide, but I’m just a little chai.
Art Credit: Hayley Jane Wakenshaw