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Why we should not be drinking bottled water


The movie “Tapped” is a film about the global, environmental, health crisis of plastic bottled water. Check out the trailer here:

And read some of these statistics…

  • The United States is the world’s leading consumer of bottled water. In 2006, bottled water consumption in the US reached a record 8.3 billion gallons, 185 million gallons of which was imported. The total amount spent on bottled water was over $11 billion.
  • In contrast to tap water, which is distributed through an energy-efficient infrastructure, transporting bottled water long distances involves burning massive quantities of fossil fuels.
  • Making bottles to meet Americans’ demand for bottled water requires more than 1.5 million barrels of oil annually, enough to fuel some 100,000 U.S. cars for a year.
  • It costs more money to drink bottled water than to put gas in your car–up to five times more–due mainly to its packaging and transportation.
  • 86 percent of plastic water bottles used in the United States become garbage or litter.
  • Buried water bottles can take up to 1,000 years to biodegrade.
  • Studies show that consumers associate bottled water with healthy living. But bottled water is not guaranteed to be any healthier than tap water. In fact, roughly 40 percent of bottled water begins as tap water; often the only difference is added minerals that have no marked health benefit.
  • In 1999, NRDC conducted 1,000 separate tests of more than 100 brands of bottled water and concluded that bottled water is not necessarily any purer or any safer than city tap water – See Bottled Water: Pure Drink or Pure Hype?.
  • Bottled water companies do not have to release their water-testing results to the public, whereas municipalities do.
  • A city’s tap water cannot have any E. coli or fecal coliform bacteria, while bottled water is allowed a certain amount of these bacteria. In addition, most cities’ tap water must be tested for Cryptosporidium or Giardia, common water pathogens that can cause intestinal problems, including diarrhea. In contrast, bottled water companies are not required to conduct these tests.
  • People pay from $1 to $4 a gallon for the perception of higher quality when, in fact, the quality of bottled water is at best unknown! Over 90% of the cost of bottled water is in the bottle, lid and label.
  • The FDA, who regulates bottled water, states that “Companies that market bottled water as being safer than tap water are defrauding the American public.”
  • On average, one person uses 166 disposable plastic water bottles each year.
  • If everyone in New York City were to use a reusable water bottle for one week, for one month, or for one year it would make a significant difference in reducing waste.
    One week = 24 million bottles saved
    One month = 112 million bottles saved
    One year = 1.328 billion bottles saved

Here are some interesting links to check out as well…

And some more amazing statistics on why tap water is probably safer than bottled water…

* City tap water is rigorously inspected, and can have no confirmed E. coli or fecal coliform bacteria. Bottled water regulations include no such prohibition (a certain amount of any type of coliform bacteria is allowed in bottled water).
* City tap water from surface water must be filtered and disinfected. In contrast, there are no government filtration or disinfection requirements for bottled water.
* Most cities using surface water have to test for Cryptosporidium or Giardia, two common water pathogens that can cause diarrhea and other intestinal problems. Bottled water companies do not have to do this.
* City tap water must meet standards for certain important toxic or cancer-causing chemicals, such as phthalate (a chemical that can leach from plastic, including those plastic water bottles); some in the industry persuaded government regulators to exempt bottled water from the regulations regarding these chemicals.
* City water systems must issue annual “right to know” reports, telling consumers what is in their water. But bottlers successfully killed a “right to know” requirement for bottled water.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Fran Scoble permalink
    05/06/2010 2:24 pm

    I think we can safely say that “the U.S. is the world’s leading consumer….” period. Whatever it is, we consume most of it! Totally agree about bottled water. It’s a rare circumstance where that is the best choice, e.g., the only choice. If gasoline were as expensive by the gallon as bottled water, no one wold be driving.

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