Plastic Water Bottles Exposed

by Leila Serino on March 28, 2014

waterMany Americans are under the impression that bottled water is safer than drinking from the tap. This however, is not necessarily the case. Studies have shown virtually no difference between water from public supplies and bottled water. Under the Safe Drinking Water Act of 1974, all drinking water must meet minimum safety standards established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Tap water is treated to remove particles, chemicals, and bacteria before it gets to your kitchen sink. It even has added benefits such as fluoride for dental health benefits and it is treated with chlorine for disinfection. It may come as a surprise to you that Massachusetts has one of the best public water supplies in the country. They require local water supplies to continue ongoing tests that look to identify bacteria, lead and other metals, herbicides, and pesticides.

While other Americans might gravitate towards plastic water bottles for a better taste, they don’t realize the toll it is taking on the environment and their own pockets! To supply America’s demand for bottled water, we are using more than 17 million barrels of oil annually. That is the equivalent of fueling 1.3 million cars for a year. In many cases, people are forgetting to recycle these bottles as well. Even those who do recycle may not realize they are still harming the environment. It has been reported that only 4% of discarded single-use bottles are being recycled to make new ones. The other 30 million bottles discarded a year are being sent to landfills. These facts are alarming to many environmentalists. They are worried about the depletion of groundwater that occurs when bottling water companies remove huge amounts. A large removal of groundwater may disrupt an ecosystem and kill off the organisms that inhabit it.

Although the water inside a plastic bottle may be safe, drinking out of the plastic bottle itself may have negative consequences on our health. Most of the bottles are made out of polyethylene terephthalate (PET). Scientists believe when PET bottles are stored in hot or warm temperatures, the plastic may release chemicals into the water. Antimony is a toxic material used to make PET water bottles. Scientists revealed the longer a bottle of water sits around, the more antimony develops and leaks into the water you will drink. In small doses antimony may cause dizziness and depression while in larger doses it may cause nausea and vomiting.

Ways to keep yourself safe while staying hydrated:

  • Buy a reusable water bottle that is BPA free
  • Use a home water treatment device such as a filter if you dislike the taste of tap water
  • Try chilling your tap water prior to drinking it for taste
  • If you must grab a single-use bottle on the go make sure to recycle it or buy a glass bottle such as Voss
  • Store plastic water bottles in a cool temperature and don’t keep them for too long

Plastic water bottles make water taste better and are convenient at times, we get it. But are they really worth the risk you are putting yourself and the environment at? There are many things you can do to reduce the waste of water bottles and to save natural resources destroyed during the creation of water bottles. Drinking tap water will reduce your risk of ingesting the antimony in plastic water bottles. Although the taste of tap water may take a while to get used to, you will be benefiting yourself and the environment by making the switch!

Sources:

http://www.banthebottle.net/bottled-water-facts/

http://www.cnn.com/2013/11/19/health/upwave-bottled-water/

http://www.mass.gov/eea/agencies/massdep/water/drinking/how-safe-is-drinking-water-in-massachusetts-faq.html#Howsafeismydrinkingwater

Nadakavukaren, A. (2011) Our Global Environment.


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