Bottled water is available in every general store. It is the natural alternative when you’re traveling, or your tap water doesn’t taste so good, or you’re out and about and get thirsty. But is bottled water safe for you to drink?
Also, get this – a Food & Water Watch report found that 64% of bottled water is actually tap water!
The Issue with Bottled Water
Bottled water itself must conform to certain standards. Every bottle should state “FDA approved” (in the USA).
This is great news; the water should be safe to drink. Unfortunately, it is not the water that is actually the problem. It’s the container it’s in.
There are 3 main issues with the water bottle:
You’ve probably heard about BPA – Bisphenol A. There have been plenty of stories about it recently, particularly concerning the harmful effects it may have on your hormones. But what is it?
BPA is a chemical which is added to the plastic your bottle is made from. This prevents the bottle from cracking.
By preventing cracking the water companies can use thinner and softer plastic; increasing their profit margins.
However, BPA can mix with the water if left standing for a period of time. This effect is magnified when you expose the bottle to heat, like when you leave in the sun in your bag or car.
You then consume the BPA in your water. Side effects of this chemical include:
- Disrupting hormone levels and preventing proper development in children and fetuses.
- Possibly affecting brain function.
- Cardiovascular issues.
- Prostate enlargement.
Additionally, there seems to be a link between BPA and cancer although more research is needed.
It is important to note that BPA is only present in bottles with recycle codes of 3 and 7. Not all of these bottles have BPA but there is the potential for it.
PET, or Polyethylene Terephthalate now tends to be used instead of BPA.
Unfortunately, there are also health risks associated with this alternative!
PET is actually a form of polyester and plays a crucial role in holding your plastic water bottle together.
It’s not just used in water bottles. You’ll find it in a wide variety of food and drink containers.
Although this was previously thought to be a safe compound, it has now become apparent that PET can also leach into your water and create a similar estrogenic effect to BPA.
This means it could have the same side effects as BPA, although more research is currently needed.
A third chemical used in the production of plastic bottles is phthalates. This is an important part of the process as it makes the plastic flexible.
Unfortunately, it has also been linked with liver cancer, testicular atrophy, and even sterility.
This is not a substance you or your partner want to consume regularly.
Should You Just Use Tap Water Instead?
The obvious alternative would be to use tap water and bottles which are designed to be reused. The ones that don’t have BPA or PET in.
In theory, this is great but there are concerns over how safe tap water is.
The water that comes through your pipes has undergone an intensive cleaning process. This involves filters to remove particles and the addition of chemicals to kill bacteria.
This water is tested at the treatment plant. But the problem is that water travels through miles of pipes before it reaches your tap.
These pipes can leach chemicals into the water. The pipes can also have tiny splits which allow bacteria and particles into your water.
In addition, the chemicals used to clean the water can cause health issues:
Chlorine is effective at killing bacteria but it is also believed to attack your immune system. This can weaken it and make you more vulnerable to illness.
Fluoride is a mineral which is added to water and toothpastes. Research shows it can reduce the number of cavities.
This is great for your dental health but further research suggests it can also be toxic to your body in high volumes.
On the face of it, there is quite an issue!
You can opt for bottled water and risk health issues such as cancer through BPA and PET.
Or you can choose tap water and risk damage to your immune system along with the toxic effects of fluoride. There are also a variety of heavy metals and minerals that remain in your tap water.
Obviously, you can’t avoid water altogether, it is an essential part of life!
The answer is to invest in one of these products and either a polycarbonate, metal or glass bottle. These are designed not to leach chemicals and are considered safe to use.
Under Sink Tap Filter
- It is very easy to fit a carbon water filter into your main water supply and send it to a designated tap.
- There are plenty of professional firms who can do this in a couple of hours for you.
- The carbon filter removes particles, bacteria, and any chemicals. It will leave your water 99.9% pure!
- This is the best option at home for convenience and you can use this water to refill your approved container.
- You can also buy whole house filtration systems if you prefer.
- Less convenient but still practical is the water jug with a filter.
- You’ll need to keep topping the water up but the filter works in the same way as the under sink option.
- Your water will be clean and safe but you’ll need to pour it from the jug. And you’ll need to keep replacing the filter.
Water Bottle with Filter
- You can also purchase a water bottle which can be refilled with tap water or bottled water. It has a built-in filter to ensure the water you consume is safe.
- This is a good option if you are out a lot and need to refill your bottle without buying bottled water. You’ll just need to make sure that you replace the filter regularly.
Summing It Up – Is Bottled Water Safe?
So, is bottled water safe for you to drink? Well, the truth is that bottled water has become an essential part of our everyday lives. You need to stay hydrated, especially when exercising!
But, there are risks associated with bottled water. To ensure your water is safe to drink, it is advisable to use an under sink filter system and a polycarbonate, metal or even glass bottle.
It might seem like a lot of effort, but remember that it’s far easier to protect your health than it is to overcome an illness!<