Posts Tagged ‘Bottled Water’

Think it’s OK to reuse disposable water bottles? Think again!

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Reusing disposable plastic water bottles might make you feel better about the environment. It makes buying water seem not quite so bad. “At least they’re being used a few times”, you might think.

It’s the same feeling you might get from lining the bin with a plastic bag from the supermarket. But the plastic still ends up polluting the planet. Best to avoid them altogether.

And anyway, what’s the deal with “BPA” and “PET”? And all those curious “plastics” labels? Is it actually safe and healthy to use those water bottles?

polyethylene terephthalate (PET)The answer is that it depends on what type of plastic the bottle is made of and how long you continue to use it for. It also depends on how thoroughly you wash it after each use. The small “neck” can easily attract harmful bacteria.

Most “single use” water bottles that you buy at the petrol station or supermarket are made from polyethylene terephthalate (PET). It’s a cheap and lightweight plastic. Although deemed safe for single use, there is evidence to suggest that the bottles release harmful ingredients when exposed to sunlight and heat.  In addition, repeated hot-water washing and handling of PET water bottles may break down the plastic, leaching toxic compounds, such as DEHA, into the drink inside.

Repeated use of PET water bottles has been shown to increase harmful bacteria levels. Bacteria from your hands and mouth, for example, accumulate when the bottle isn’t washed between uses. But then, repeated washing risks toxic ingredients being leached.

There are even more sinister concerns resulting from less commonly used plastics such PVC which leaches phthalates,  shown to cause developmental and reproductive damage. Polystyrene which leaches styrene and can cause nervous system effects and liver damage. Polycarbonate has been shown to leach Bisphenol A (BPA), a hormone disruptor that mimics estrogen.

Why would you risk toxic compounds in your water or harmful bacteria lurking around the mouth of the water bottles? The simple solution is to drink water fresh from the tap or drinking fountain, or use well designed, hygienic water containers specifically intended for repeated use.

Same message, different format

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Bottled water is not a good thing. (We may have mentioned this before!)

There are literally hundreds, probably thousands, of websites that can tell you why.

Having read a fair few of them, we enjoy sharing with you some of the lesser known facts about the evils bottled water (read our other blogs on the topic here). And we also have lots of links on our links and resources if you’re looking for even more information.

We thought this video was worth sharing too.

It’s another great summary of many of the reasons why bottled water should be well and truly avoided, and it’s very watchable.

It goes for about 8 minutes, so strike a comfy pose, prepare to be entertained, and listen up!

MYTHBUSTING: Is bottled water safer than tap water?

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The short answer to this question is NO.

One of the many myths that the bottled water industry has spent lots of money perpetrating is that bottled water is safer that tap water.

Perfectly clean drinking water.

We checked out what some actual experts had to say on the matter:

Food and water watch says, “Despite the marketing, bottled water is not safer than tap water. Tap water is subject to more stringent regulation that bottled water. Tap water is regulated by the EPA, while bottled water is regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. Perpetually under-funded and short-staffed, FDA has a poor record of protecting consumer health and safety. FDA sends inspectors to bottling plants once every two to three years.

Independent testing of bottled water conducted by the Environmental Working Group in 2008 found that 10 popular brands of bottled water… contained 38 chemical pollutants, with an average of 8 contaminants in each brand.”

National Geographic says, “Bottled water isn’t always as safe as tap water. The NRDC conducted a four-year study of the bottled water industry and concluded that while most bottled water is safe to drink, there are areas of concern. Roughly 22% of the water tested contained contaminant levels that exceeded strict state health limits. One study found that hormone-disrupting phthalates had leached into bottled water that had been stored for 10 weeks.”

The Worldwatch Institution says, “In industrial countries with highly regulated water supplies, tap water has been proven to be just as safe, or safer, than its commercial counterpart. In the U.S, regulations concerning bottled water are generally the same as for tap water, but are weaker for some microbial contaminants. The U.S. FDA, which regulates bottled water at the federal level, permits the product to contain certain levels of fecal matter, whereas the Environmental Protection Agency does not allow any human waste in city tap water. Bottled water violations are not always reported to the public, and in most cases the products may be recalled up to 15 months after the problematic water was produced, distributed, and sold.

Want to hear the truth about the other myths the bottled water industry would like you to believe? Watch this video or read this Cleanpdf.