Is Bottled Water the Answer?

Everyone knows the problem of finding trustworthy drinking water. What used to be safe water is now polluted with chemicals from pesticides. We are presently aware of 2100 toxins in drinking water and new risks are identified regularly.

Older houses have the additional problem of lead pipes and these add dangerous metals to otherwise acceptable water. Then too, city water systems are notorious for violating standards established by the EPA. And even if they did maintain these standards stringently, are the established levels of contaminants really safe? What might be lurking in the water yet to be discovered?

In response to this news, many have decided to buy bottled water, eight billion gallons of it a year, and rising. Since the label says "Spring water" or Glacier water," they are confident it is better than what's in the faucet. Unfortunately, this may not be the case.

The first reason is that what is inside the bottle may not be what it says on the outside of the bottle. Though interstate sales of bottled water are regulated by the FDA, the industry within state borders is not regulated. Some states do not retain even one full time employee to oversee inspections. The FDA does not consider water a high priority and may not even check bottling plants yearly. Several bottled water companies recently agreed to print on the labels the source of their water (often the faucet), and stop duping the drinkers into thinking it came from a glacier somewhere.

Secondly, though the source may be a natural spring or stream, this does not guarantee it to be safe. Springs and wells are not exempt from the comtaminations mentioned above. To give insult to injury, imagine buying someone else's spring water that is not as pure as your own!

The third problem deals with the plastic bottle itself. Most water comes in bottles marked with a number 1, or the name PET or PETE. This stands for polyethylene terephthalate. The bottles are probably safe if the water is drunk without extended storage. However, if the bottles are stored in warm areas, the plastic can actually leach into the water.

The National Institutes of Health recently showed that bisphenol, used to make water cooler jugs, sport drink bottles, and other hard plastic bottles, may case neurological problems in developing babies. How might it affect the rest of us? So if you bring water from home in plastic bottles to avoid the water cooler, you may not be any better off.

Finally there is the issue of the environment. Eighty per cent of all bottles never make it back to the recycling plant. Instead they become landfill that will not biodegrade. Also, water is needed to make the bottles and an estimated 72 billion gallons is used for that each year. In fact, some figure that it takes two liters of water to make one liter of bottled water.

An alternative to these problems with bottled water is to purchase a water filter and purify your own water. Be sure the filter uses the activated carbon method. Then store the filtered water in glass containers and transport it in a glass lined thermos. The good news is that, in the long run, you will actually save money over the cost of buying bottled water, and you will have the peace of mind that you are drinking water that is safe and healthy.

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About The Author, Samuel S. Peters..
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