Monday, July 25, 2011

Go Green: Say NO to Bottled Water

Go Green: Say NO to Bottled Water

I've never really been into bottled water. I can't see paying for something that I can get for practically nothing from my sink. A few months ago I watched a documentary called Tapped and it really opened my eyes to the dirty business that is bottled water. After all the research I've done, it's become so important to me, so here I am trying to spread the word.

Bottled water usually is tap water. Companies such as Coca-Cola and Pepsi often buy municipal water. They pay next to nothing, and then go into towns and cities and drain the lakes. If there is a drought and a community is under water restriction, these companies will keep pumping. Often, by the time they are done, there is nothing left.

Water is bottled and sold back to the consumer for 1,900 times the cost of tap. It costs an average of $2.00 per liter of bottled water; it costs an average of $0.0005 per liter of tap water.

Many people argue that bottled water tastes better and is cleaner. This is not true. The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) requires public water suppliers to test their water for contaminants several times a day. You can count on your water being tested an average of 4 times each day. The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) requires that bottled water only be tested once a week or once each year, depending on the contaminant. A study of the 10 most popular brands of bottled water found an average of 8 contaminants including arsenic, nitrate, Tylenol, and industrial chemicals. As far as bottled water tasting better, I believe that this is usually psychological. I'm sorry if this offends anyone, but the truth is that bottled water and tap water are often one in the same and some bottled water may not ever receive treatment.

The process of making bottles for water is unhealthy. Every year, 1.5 million barrels of oil are used to makes bottles. The process releases toxic compounds such as nickel, ethylbenzene, and ethyleneoxide into the air. The communities where bottled water plants are located have staggering rates of cancer. The residents can't even sell their homes because no one else wants to live near these plants.

Bottled water isn't good for the people who drink it either. The plastic used for bottles contains BPA and phthalates. BPA is linked to reproductive and neurological damage and cancer. Phthalates mimic hormones in your body. Exposure to phthalates may cause brain damage, hyperactivity, and cancer, including prostate cancer.

One more negative effect of bottled water is that the bottles are thrown away where they end up in landfills or the ocean. Only about 20% of water bottles are recycled. Between California and Hawaii, there is a mass of trash floating in the ocean known as the Great Garbage Patch. It contains about 3.5 million tons of trash and is roughly the size of Texas. Most of this garbage is plastic.

The good news is that 90% of tap water in the United States is safe to drink. Your municipality is legally required to share the results of tests on public water, so feel free to ask for it. If you feel that your tap water is unclean, buy a filter. Ultimately it would be ideal to buy a reverse osmosis system, which removes the fluoride from your water. In the long run, it is a better investment than continuing to buy bottled water. There are too many negative effects of bottled water, so please, just say NO.

1 comment:

  1. I used a Nalgene water bottle for many, many bike rides over the years. I also just found out that my expresso maker uses a polycarbonate water reservoir.
    A healthy outdoor/sports person all my life, I was diagnosed with breast cancer last year. When I was healthy, I wouldn't have believed that something like cancer would bring me down.
    Don't use the plastic.

    Cathy Walker
    Homework Help