Bottled water is masquerading as a superhero and we’re here to say something about it!
Not all bottled water is duplicitous; some of it is clean, crystal-clear spring water bottled direct from the source. Most tap water in the United States is perfectly drinkable, too. But according to the EPA, tap water is often disinfected with chlorine, chloramine, ozone, or ultraviolet light to kill germs, and this can put people off.
Many consumers preference bottled water over tap water. It’s billed to have numerous health benefits, it’s cleaner than tap water (right?), and you even get a nifty bottle that you can reuse time and time again. So what’s the problem?
Here are three reasons to rethink your bottled water habit.
1. Your bottled water might have come out of the faucet, actually
We’ve all been wooed by plastic bottles with images of clear water cascading down picturesque mountainsides before, admit it. But did you know that approximately 45 percent of bottled water sold in the United States comes from municipal water sources? It’s cheaper, of course!
Actually, companies are obliged to explain where their water comes from in the small print on your bottle’s packaging. They might just be hoping that you don’t take the time to read it.
That’s not the only problem. “Water migrates,” reports Fox News, so even if your water does come from a natural source, if that water is polluted upstream, then “residue from that contamination can travel downstream,” they warn. And where does it end up? That’s right—in your drinking water.
2. Reusing plastic bottles is a massive health hazard
Drinking from a used plastic bottle might feel eco-conscious, but in terms of germs, it’s “worse than licking your dog’s toy,” say the experts at Treadmill Reviews. Unscrewing bottles with dirty hands, not washing the bottles regularly, and putting anything except iced water inside them creates a fertile breeding ground for numerous nasties.
Washing bottles after use with warm soapy water, vinegar, or even an antibacterial mouthwash will help. However, on top of germs, we also have noxious chemicals to deal with. Fun!
A reused plastic bottle can leach massively dangerous chemicals into your beverage if you don’t know what to look out for. Bottles labeled with a number 1 and the acronym “PET” are for single use only. Artificial heat, or even the heat of the sun, can cause these bottles to discharge toxic chemicals into your drinking water.
Bottles labeled with numbers 3 or 7 (meaning they are made from PVC or PC) are a little more insidious; reusing these bottles over a long period of time can cause health issues like damage to the liver, kidneys, and lungs. This is because they contain phthalates, a family of industrial chemicals, says ABC Health & Wellbeing.
3. The ‘health benefits’ could be a marketing ploy
One commonly held myth about bottled water is that it’s better for you than other sugary drinks. Healthy young folk might be tempted by persuasive marketing to adopt a flavored bottled water habit to accompany their daily trek to the gym, and they’d be forgiven for doing so.
A double whammy of physical fitness and a healthy, tasty beverage? Don’t mind if we do! Except the “low sugar” argument could, in fact, be complete nonsense.
Shockingly, The Telegraph revealed that some flavored bottled waters contain up to 13 grams of sugar per serving. If you’re going for health over flavor, then don’t be duped; always, always read the label.
Laura Pressley is the founder of an Austin-based clean water initiative called Pure Rain bottled water. “We worry about eating organic foods,” she told The Daily Meal, “but not about drinking organic, or chemical-free, water. Think about it; we drink more fluids than we eat food.”
She’s got a point! It’s food (or should we say, drink) for thought.