There is a long-established misconception that bottled water is “cleaner” than filtered water. So much so, that the bottled water industry has reached billions in revenue. How curious that we spend more an ounce on water than we do milk, considering most of us grew up drinking water from the tap or an Indoor fountain.
Questionable Water Sources
Many of us believe our bottled water to be from remote water sources, which is why we reconcile ourselves to the exorbitant cost. However, the surprising truth is that many bottled water companies source their water from the same public sources your tap water comes from. What’s more, even if the water comes from one of these exotic sources, it still must be transported and bottled before it reaches your local store, adding potential contamination opportunities. It is also not required for bottled water manufacturers to list the sources of their water on the label. Conversely, tap water sources and test results are public record and easily accessible.
Unclear Regulatory Controls
Although tap water is regulated by the EPA, the regulation of bottled water is not as straightforward. Because bottled water is considered a “packaged consumable” it theoretically should be regulated by the FDA, rather than the EPA. However, the exception to his rule is that any water being bottled and sold within the same state requires no FDA inspections and falls instead to the state’s discretion for regulation. Sadly, many states either have poor bottled water regulatory standards and inadequate staffing budgets.
Hazardous Packaging Materials
As more and more research is being conducted, several potential hazards are being found in both the chemicals used to make the plastic bottles, as well as in the plastics themselves. Both BPA and PVC are used in the production of the bottles and have been directly linked to endocrine and reproductive maladies as well as carcinogens. Most experts agree, the danger is minimal so long as the water is not stored too long in these bottles or kept at extreme temperatures. However, when we think of the practical application, most of us carry our water bottles in our cars and store them in hot garages. We take them to the beach and leave them on boat docks under the blazing sun. This extreme temperature allows BPA and other toxins to release into the water we drink. It is much safer to drink filtered water and carry a metal or non-BPA plastic sports bottle, easily refillable from a fountain or home supply.
Most of us need only look at our favorite beach or park to comprehend just how much refuse these bottles are creating on our beautiful planet. Each bottle can take up to 1,000 years to biodegrade. Furthermore, the amount of water it takes to produce the plastic bottles themselves is a 2:1 ratio of the water it holds. This is not including the 5oz of fossil fuels needed to produce one 20 oz. bottle of water.
The bottom line is, by simply returning to our filtered water, we are not only saving ourselves a couple hundred dollars a year in bottled water, but we are also making vast improvements to our health and our planet.