Water has always been essential to our survival, but has recently become one of the most concerned health crazes for people all over the world. As the growing demands for quality drinking water increase, bottled water companies like Dasani, Poland Spring, and Fiji are promising a healthier, purer, water product than the water that flows from our tap. Consumers spend millions of dollars per year, often mistaken that bottled water is better, safe, and harmless to the environment. With many selections to choose from – enhanced flavors, vitamins, water that gives you energy, immunity-type benefits, etc., distinguishing between the elaborated labels and exaggerated health claims are overwhelming. How can we be sure of the healthiest choice for us?
While some people associate bottled water with being trendy and healthy, and view tap water with disdain, vast studies have shown that the bottles we buy into are deceptive –they are no healthier than what we get from our tap. According to the container recycling institute, approximately 44% of all bottled water originated as municipal water (tap water), and were sold as ‘purified’ water, with the remaining 56% attributed to protected springs or groundwater. A study from the NDRC found that one third of bottled waters tested, contained “significant contamination – levels of chemical or bacterial contaminants exceeding those allowed under a state or industry standard or guideline”.
The companies adopted ‘green’ marketing trends also proclaim that their improved products are environmentally friendly. On the contrary, the production of bottled water has a huge economic and environmental cost. Enormous greenhouse gasses are being released into the atmosphere for production, and millions of barrels of cruel oil are being used to replace the tons of plastic bottles that are not being recycled. New York City alone consumes nearly 2.5 billion bottles of water per year. The disposal of the product frequently becomes garbage or litter, and water bottle waste in our landfills can take thousands of years to decompose. If we practiced alternatives to bottled water, we can empower our health and minimize the impact of plastic waste on the planet.
Although our tap water can face numerous threats and possible contamination from our pipes and additives, generally the water is among the safest tap water in the world. For added protection, there are various water filtration methods to get tap water to an even cleaner and healthier level. Every responsible drinking water routine should start with tap water. Filtered tap water is by far better for the environment and cheaper to consume.
The next time you reach for a bottled water on the shelf, think about what you’re really paying for– is it really worth it?!
For more information:
Natural Resources Defense Council
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
12 reasons to stop drinking bottled water