We know that bottled water is a drain on the environment to the tune of 1.5 million extra tons of plastic a year. It’s this plastic that ends up polluting our oceans, rivers, and streams while crowding out our landfills with a trash source that will never biodegrade. Plus bottled water is about 1,000 times more expensive than tap water. So it leaves you wondering, are plastic water bottles even any healthier?
In parts of the world where safe drinking water doesn’t exist, bottled water is more necessary, but in developed countries like the U.S., bottled water is often no more healthy. And in some cases, it’s actually less healthy. A recent recall of Niagara Bottled Water as a result of e.coli contamination shows that just like our food supply, the risk of food borne illness is real. E.coli was discovered in the company’s water supply, impacting all of their brands, according to Bustle.
Plastic water bottles are meant to be used once and after that there’s a risk that chemicals from the plastic will begin to leach into the water. So if you’re using them to refill your filtered water, user beware because they’re just not safe. Two chemicals: DHEA, a possible human carcinogen and benzyl butyl phthalate (BBP), a potential hormone disruptor, are found in single-use plastic water bottles.
Bottled water is regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and tap water is regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). But both agencies are most concerned about immediate threats like sanitary conditions, bacteria, and some chemicals. However, the EPA does not regulate private wells, so if you have a well, it’s important to have your water periodically tested on your own.
If you’re interested in water that’s free of chlorine, volatile organic chemicals, endocrine disruptors, pesticides, and other chemicals, then you’ll need to buy reverse osmosis water (from the grocery store or other water sellers). Reverse osmosis water costs about .39 cents per gallon, depending on where you’re shopping. The water is best stored in ceramic containers (often sold at your local health foods store) rather than a plastic container.
Often times, bottled water is no different than tap water except for the fact that it doesn’t flow through the pipes in your home and it’s much more expensive. If you’re buying it for health reasons, which besides convenience, is really the only reason to buy it, it’s a waste of cash. Instead, invest in a nice reusable, BPA-free water bottle and take it with you everywhere you go -- filling it up with either tap water or reverse osmosis water. Not only will you be saving our oceans, rivers, streams, and landfills from an abundance of unnecessary waste, you’ll also have some cash left over for a rainy day fund.
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