Is Bottled Water Safe?

Bottled water is convenient, but is it better than tap water? Would it be just as efficient to buy a filter for your water as to spend 2,000 times more than you need to on bottled water? This is an issue in our society today. Although it is thought that bottled water is safer than tap, there are two new reports showing that bottled-water is actually regulated less than tap water. The Food and Drug Administration has very little authority to regulate companies with bottled brands. This information was released to a U.S. Congressional report recently. Water utilities are required to provide a public report each year of their test results on the tap water. Bottled-water companies do not have to do this. In fact, it is hardly even checked. So, if you think about it, you are
spending money on something that may not be any better than what you can get for nearly free. This new research is supported by a second report from the Environmental Working Group. This nonprofit advocacy organization did numerous surveys on the labels and web sites of nearly 200 popular bottled-water brands. They found that less than two percent disclosed some important facts that can affect safety. These facts include: the water’s source, purification methods, and chemical pollutants in each bottle. Think about it, if the companies that preach to us that they are doing what is best for the people, they should have no trouble giving out that information. It is evident something is going on behind closed doors.

These bottling companies put things like deep, pristine pools of spring water; majestic alpine peaks; healthy, active people gulping down icy bottled water between biking in the park and a trip to the yoga studio on their labels. This is why people think that bottled water is so much better for you than tap water. In all actuality water is just water. Even with this information out, people are still buying an abundant amount of bottled water. It is estimated that bottled water sales are between $50 and $100 billion each year. If this doesn’t detour you away from bottled water, just stop and think about it. Bottled water is a dry well; it’s costly, wasteful and distracts from public health: the construction and maintenance of safe water systems.

Another study was done in 2003 concerning the chemicals and other contents in the plastic itself. The study was done by Dr. Paticia Hunt of Case Western University in Ohio. She questioned the use of polycarbonate plastics such as Lexan. These findings were published in the journal Current Biology. In 1998, Hunt found that the plastics contained bisphenol-A (BPA), a potent hormone disruptor. It is a chemical found in epoxy resin and polycarbonate plastics. BPA may impair reproductive organs and have effects on tumors, breast tissue development and prostate development by reducing sperm count. BPA can get into the water from the water bottles through exposure to heat and cleaning agents, but also through normal wear and tear. There was a study done in 2003 by the University of Missouri and they published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives confirming Dr. Hunts’ study conclusions. They also found that BPA leached into liquids at room temperature. This means just having your plastic water bottle sitting on your desk can be potentially harmful. It is starting to sound like tap water isn’t so bad after all.

Lastly, here are some facts about bottled water versus tap water. Tap water costs $0.0015/gal, whereas bottled water costs $10.00/gal. The price of bottled water is up to 10,000 times the cost of tap water. Every year, Americans consume 8.6 billion gallons of water; 53 billion gallons are consumed globally. That comes out to be about $61 billion dollars. Here’s the irony: 40% of bottled water is taken from municipal water sources (aka tap water). Another statistic for you: 22% of tested water bottle brands contained chemical contaminants at levels above strict state health limits. How’s that for healthy? Let’s compare tap and bottled water again. Tap water is tested for E.coli, it is required for a source to be given, and are required to produce quality reports; bottled water manufacturers do not test for E.coli, they are not required for the source of their water to be known, and they are not required to produce quality reports. Aside from the contents of the water, let’s look at the process of making the bottles, packing, shipping, etc. Each year 17 million barrels of oil are used in the production of water bottles. That is enough oil to fuel a million cars for a whole year. How ironic, it takes about three times the amount of water to produce the waters as it does to fill it. Of these water bottles only about 1in 5, or 20% of them are recycled. That adds up to 3 billion pounds of waste from plastic water bottles. Crazy, huh?

Next time you are about to grab a water bottle, stop and think. Is it worth it? Not only do they pose health risks, but they aren’t good for the environment. There is no quick easy way to dispose of them and not many cities have an option to recycle the bottles. What are some alternatives to bottled water? If you aren’t a fan of tap water because of the “taste” what are some other ways you can access water in a convenient manner without grabbing a plastic water bottle? What other harmful chemicals can potentially be in your water that you need to be aware of? Now it’s you’re call, what are you going to do?


12 thoughts on “Is Bottled Water Safe?

  1. Water bottles just lead to bad things. One reason is more pollution, 1.5 million tons of plastic waste per year. That could all be changed by just drinking tap water. There really is nothing wrong with that in fact all water even tap is purified. That means that you pay up to 5 bucks a bottle for something that you could have easily gotten from your own house. Some people say that they like the minerals that they put in bottled water but the truth is that most local city’s put minerals in there tap as well.

  2. This is an interesting blog because i would have never thought that bottled water is bad for your own health. However i dont think that it is the water that is affecting you. I think it is more of the bottle. Plastic Bottles Contaminate Water with Bisphenol A. Bisphenol A is commonly abbreviated as BPA, is an organic compound with two phenol functional groups used to make polycarbonate plastic. For more information about how it can harm you, the enviroment, and your wallet you can go to the link below.,_your_wallet_and_the_environment

  3. I found it amazing that plastic water bottles could leach out BPA, but I wasnt surprised that the water came from tap. I have been reusing the same water bottle without knowing that it could harm me. I always thought it was harmless if I reused the same bottle alot while it was room temperature. I did some research that even baby bottles leach out BPA too. BPA poses a threat to adults, kids and babies all around the world.
    all together you did a good job putting this blog together. Everything was nicely placed throughout the whole entire blog.

  4. I found this article to be well written and relevant. This is a problem I have heard about on multiple occasions, but not so in depth. Something I think goes along with this article quite well is the history of bottled water. Back in ye olde times (the mid 1700’s) bottled water came to North America. It never really exploded into what it is today until the late 1900’s. If you feel like going more in depth about bottled water’s history, check the link and such.

    This is a great blog! It is truly outstanding how much money people will spend on an item they can get every day right out of their homes for not even half the price. You made a very good point stating that it may be convenient but, you really don’t know where some of the water you are drinking is coming from. You also do not know if it is safe! This site talks about the regulations that bottled water companies go through and how the public doesn’t know when the company fails tests or even what they failed them for.

  6. Water is said to be safe. You always hear the negatives of bottled water. Technologies exist to free water of all these gross things. The processes seem to be too expensive when considering treatment for every gallon that is sent into household plumbing. It is recommended that people shouldn’t use the bottled water to bathe or water their plants. With Schreuder’s plan, these expensive machineries could be reserved and used in new blends for the sanitization of water that will be ingested. Bottled water is easier to use and transport for the countries that don’t have any water. In some parts of the world bottles water is a lot safer than their tap water.

  7. I thought that your blog was very well put together and the information was very informatitive.
    I found the fact that bottled water BPA was actually a chemical found in epoxy resin and polycarbonate plastics. I never knew how dangerous drinking a waterbottle was. Why do americans waste their money on such waste? Water cost is going up when its probably something that could harm us the most. I know that the waterbottle i use is BPA free and that is definatly something everyone should check before drinking out of a waterbottle.
    I found this website that goes along with your topic very well.

  8. I thought that the topic you choose is truly relevant to today’s society, and how it complimented what we learned in class. I also thought your writing style was appropriate.

    I didn’t find most of the facts about the bottled water industry surprising, but I did find them alarming. How can we sit back and stay passive while this is happening? Is there anything you think that could be done right away to protect the average consumer’s health? As people, were the ones who drive the bottled water industry, and if we refuse to buy water bottles then companies will no longer have a reason to produce them.
    The main problem I have with water bottles is the presence of BPA in the water bottles. I did some of my own research, and found this website helpful.

  9. Bottled water has become a part of life, now. However, I don’t think it’s a horrible thing like some make it out to be. You constantly here about the negatives, and yes, I do agree that the bottles are just wasted and take many years to decompose. But there are lots of things to do with bottles, like recycle.

    This article says that Western Europe consumes the most bottled water. Apparently the water there is polluted due to industry dating all the way back to the 1800’s. So this is a relative plus side. I think it’s taken for granted that we have such easily accessible river water and aquifer sources around here.

  10. This was an interesting topic to learn about in class. It’s amazing how much money we spend on something that really doesn’t have to cost a whole lot. I did some more digging and found additional commentary on this matter. Apparently, water directly from a tap will taste different or be slightly discolored because of high amounts of chlorine, air bubbles, and/or rust in the water pipes. While these factors may make tap water seem undesirable, it’s still a safer choice than bottled water because of the higher regulation it’s susceptible to.

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