Water is always a great way to keep yourself hydrated and healthy, but the source matters. Bottled water might seem like a wonderful idea, but is it really all that better than tap water? There are potential health issues with it and it can be very costly. It is time to take a look at the truth of the matter and how problems with bottled water are solvable.
Types of Bottled Water
There are three main types of bottled water. This includes spring water, mineral water, and purified drinking water. Details are as follows:
Spring water is natural water that is either directly collected from underground sources or collected through a hole connected to the water’s source. Water from the source goes through some purification or none at all. The Food and Drug Administration will only approve the water if it has no sediment. However, some studies show contaminants in the bottles that may cause some diseases. In order to make sure that it is actually from a spring, it is best to do some research first. A study from the Environmental Working Group has shown that some companies are unwilling to disclose much information about their product to consumers.
Mineral water has added minerals such as calcium and magnesium which contains up to four times more than tap water. The majority of this type of water in the United States comes from Europe. Different brands of the water equal a variety of tastes depending on the minerals that it contains. The water may include carbonation that is naturally there or added later. The carbonated version is a healthy alternative to soda and other sweet drinks. It has health benefits for bones and teeth. It can also help with high blood pressure and kidney stones.
Purified water can come from either an underground source or a public source although all contaminants and chemicals go through a removal process. Distillation, deionization, reverse osmosis and carbon filtration are the four types of purification. While chemicals that could cause harm to a consumer is taken out, the purification process may also remove needed minerals. Demineralized water, deionized water, distilled water and reverse osmosis water are other names for purified water.
Bottled Water Dangers
There are potential dangers when it comes to bottled water. A few of the primary ones to you (and those around you) are as follows:
BPA and BPS Dangers
A study has found that BPA (bisphenol A) can be found in water that is contained in large bottles, but that single-serve bottles do not contain any BPA. However, the study says that these bottles may contain BPS which is similar to BPA and can also cause problems with hormones. BPS can also disrupt fertility and cause medical conditions in relation to hormones. Other studies have found that even small bottles contain BPA. Contaminants found in the water include disinfection byproducts, caffeine, Tylenol, nitrates, industrial chemicals, arsenic and bacteria.
The FDA regulates contaminants, but not all of them. The EPA, which regulates tap water, is more strict than the FDA for water that is in bottles when it comes to quality checks.
When you drink water from plastic, you also drink the contents of the plastic container. Even washed reused plastic bottles will have the same issue. BPA and other toxins that are in plastic can circulate through someone’s body and it can cause damage to the body if the toxicity if there for a long time, including to the liver and kidneys.
The chemicals in plastic can contribute to weight gain and cancer. Breast cancer, testicular cancer and prostate cancer are potential cancers. Health problems in the consumer can also cause problems for any children that they may have in the future.
Read “The Truth About BPA Free Water Bottles” to learn more.
Check the Water Source
While the labels tend to give information on where their water is from, some studies have found that these companies are being less than truthful. Companies that bottle water are not required to state where they get their water from. They also do not need to provide how they treat and purify the water. Some of their water is no better than tap water or even worse in terms of quality and safety.
Plastic bottles degrade over time, but the fragments take in toxins that pollute bodies of water, contaminates soil and can make animals sick which includes animals that people eat. A square mile of ocean contains more than 46,000 pieces of plastic. 10% of plastic ends up in the ocean and when that plastic sinks to the floor of the ocean, it does not degrade.
80% of plastic makes its way to landfills and only around two per every ten bottles end up recycled. The number of plastic bottles in landfills equals 38 billion per year. Plastic bottles can take hundreds of years to degrade while in a landfill and they can pick up organic pollutants. Plastic bottles are not biodegradable, but they photodegrade which means that they break into fragments over the years. These plastics bottles are polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic.
Recycling a bottle does not undo what the manufacturing of that bottle has already done to the environment. The majority of consumers do not recycle and that includes that plastic that they use. The energy used to produce, transport and refrigerate the water uses over 50 million barrels of oil each year.
A large number of vehicles that distribute the water can easily cause a lot of air pollution. Triple the volume of water that is bottled is needed to produce each bottle of water. Pollution is a huge cause of death internationally and affects more than 100 people each year. Even countries with less pollution have to deal with the pollution of other countries as it spreads. Not recycled plastic bottles have caused much damage to the environment, animals and people.
Bottom line… more bottled water equals more damage to the environment you live in.
Bottled Water Alternatives
Fortunately there are options to bottled water that still give you all, and maybe more, benefits. Six of the top options are as follows:
Glass bottles are cheap and some companies sell silicone sleeves for the bottles which prevent them from breaking. It is simple to clean them and they are sanitary because they can be easily cleaned. Glass bottles are not the best option for people who are on the go because of how heavy they can be.
Stainless Steel Bottles
Stainless steel bottles are a popular alternative to plastic bottles are they are not breakable. The bottles are in a variety of shapes sizes. They can keep cold beverages cold enough and hot beverages as hot as needed. The bottles are typically labeled if they are dishwasher safe or not. Flavors of drinks do not sink into stainless steel bottles which are perfect for when people switch between different liquids. Painted stainless steel bottles may chip after repeated washing in a dishwasher.
A popular and proven brand is Corkcicle. Read our Corkcicle Insulated Canteen and Tumbler Review for details.
Self Filtering Bottles
There are also self-filtering bottles that have a small filtration system. These bottles can be either BPA free plastic bottles or stainless steel although the stainless steel bottles cost more. The BPA free bottles use carbon filtration so only large particles and bad tastes get removed. Self-filtering water bottles may be the better choice to bring to areas where you are unsure about the quality of the water or know that the water is not safe.
Whole Home Water Filtration Systems
Tap water is more regulated than water in bottles so it is typically safer to drink. Home water filtration systems can be used for multiple levels of purification. Home systems can remove any chemicals that could be harmful to people who have sensitivities such as to fluoride. These systems can be especially useful to people who have an autoimmune disorder or problems with their thyroid.
Carbon filters can improve the taste of tap water by removing all chlorine, bad tastes, sediments, odors and some organic compounds. The carbon takes in large particles and only the clean water is able to pass through. The process it uses is adsorption. The water in carbon filters is only filtered when someone manually pours the water out. Carbon filters may not be a good choice for a large family because of how slow it is to filter. However, it is a perfect size for a small family or a modestly sized office.
Read the Pros and Cons of a Whole House Water Filter to learn more.
Reverse Osmosis Water Filters
Reverse osmosis is much more thorough than a carbon filter because it removes even smaller particles including salt, lead, iron and calcium. The process takes place inside a device that is larger than the one used for carbon filtration. It contains a membrane that catches all unfiltered water. The device is usually implanted underneath the sink and has a faucet that releases the filtered water. The amount of water does not need any control by anyone.
Its filter only needs changing between every six months to two years and the time frame depends on each individual company’s product. Reverse osmosis also removes good nutrients but removing harmful compounds far outweighs the removal of the beneficial nutrients in the opinion of consumers who prefer to use reverse osmosis than any other type of water filtration system.
Read the Pros and Cons of a Reverse Osmosis Water Filter to learn more
Infrared Water Filters
Infrared filters use ultraviolet light that destroys both bacteria and viruses. The process also reduces the amount of chlorine and lead in the water. It is not as thorough as reverse osmosis for removing all lead, chlorine and fluoride from the water. It is a bar that is inside an aluminum tube and is on a wall by where the water gets released. Filter watered which uses the ultraviolet light does not require a separate faucet.
Confused about which water filter type to use? Read the Reverse Osmosis vs Carbon Water Filter Systems article.
Plastic water bottles can cause even more damage to the environment. The water can contain harmful chemicals. There are plenty of alternatives to drinking water from a bottle which includes different types of bottles and home water filtration systems. If you want to be sure to keep yourself and the environment safe, there are several other options beyond water bottles.