The consumption of bottled water in the United States has exploded over the past few decades. Statistics show that Americans spend billions of dollars each year to buy it. While drinking more water is something that doctors have long suggested as healthy, commercially bottled water may not be any safer than tap. In fact, recent research suggests that plastic bottled water could be cause for concern.
One: A Bottle Issue?
One of the chief reasons to worry about the escalating usage of bottled water is actually the plastic bottle. After the water is bottled, it often sits for months in warehouses and storerooms until it is moved to the shelves of the grocery store or put into the vending machine. Many of these plastic bottles contain chemicals, such a phthalates and Bisphenol A (BPA), that have now been linked to some types of cancer, hormonal and developmental abnormalities and other serious health conditions. The longer the water is stored, the greater the risk that these chemicals will leach into the water stored inside.
Two: Bottled Spring Water or Bottled Tap Water?
Thanks to massive ad campaigns, bottled water is often perceived to be a healthier, safer alternative than common tap water. Unfortunately, if you read the fine print on the labels of many of the leading brands, you will find that it is often sourced from “public water sources“, otherwise known as tap water. Public water supplies must undergo regular testing to ensure the safety of the water, even though the bottled water companies do not tell you this.
Three: What Does Everyone Else Know?
The United States is the leading consumer of bottled water, but that doesn’t keep it from lagging behind many other countries who have already taken a hard look at bottled water and decided to do something about it.
Many countries, including France and Canada, have now banned or are in the process of banning BPA from being used in the production of some food-related containers, such as drinking bottles, and some, are actively working on legislation to ban bottled water altogether. In the United States, some municipalities and college campuses have taken up the fight, but as of yet, no national legislation has even been proposed.
Four: It Starts With You
Mopfrog of Brooklyn offers some eco-friendly advice:
- Ridding the food supply of dangerous chemicals is a task that must begin on a personal level. The first step is to stop supporting the bottled water industry. Re-introduce your family to the convenience and savings associated with choosing tap water, instead of bottled.
- Outfit each member of the family with an attractive, personalized stainless steel-lined water bottle of their own and help them enjoy learning to use it, instead of grabbing a bottle from a vending machine. If taste is an issue, opt to install an inexpensive filter on the kitchen tap. In addition, consider using the amount of money typically spent on bottled water to save toward a fun family outing as an extra incentive to encourage children to participate.
- Once you have weaned your family from bottled water, speak with others and encourage them to do the same. Talk to your boss, school administrators and city groups about your concerns and let your senators and congressmen and women know about the risks associated with bottled water.