What’s In Your Bottled Water?
Bottled water is the fastest growing segment of the beverage industry with annual sales exceeding $11 billion. Bottled water companies have used slick marketing to convince the public that their water is cleaner and healthier to drink. Unfortunately, bottled water is not only hazardous to our health but is equally disastrous to the environment.
The EPA regulates municipal water to ensure that water borne illness will not occur and contaminates stay down. Chlorine and disinfectant byproducts (DBP’s) are added to waterways to disinfect the water and kill off pathogenic bacteria. This has successfully reduced water borne infection.
Unfortunately, chlorine and DBP’s are highly toxic for human consumption as well. Additional problems with tap water include industrial waste, nitrates, pharmaceuticals, fluoride and arsenic.
Basic Water Filtration is Not Enough!
The EPA regulations have been successful in keeping down water borne illness. However, their standards for contaminants in tap water are too high making tap water far too toxic for regular consumption. Basic water filtration does a poor job of removing these contaminants.
The EPA has no regulating standards that are applied to bottled water facilities. Studies reveal that 40% of bottled water is actually regular tap water with possibly no additional filtering treatment (1). There are also no laws enacted to keep bottled water facilities away from industrial plants or waste dumps.
A recent Environmental Working Group test found 38 contaminants in 10 brands of bottled water. Findings included caffeine, toxic bacteria, and carcinogenic DBP’s, nitrates, arsenic, various industrial chemicals, and pharmaceutical agents (2).
The majority of bottled water on the market is no different than basic tap water. It does, however, cost 50-100 times more per gallon than basic tap. Even worse, if the water is bottled in plastic it leaches xenoestrogenic chemicals into the water (3).
These chemicals disrupt the hormonal balance that should be present in the body. An example is bisphenol A (BPA). which is linked to neurodevelopmental problems in children. BPA can stimulate premature puberty and even lead to breast development in males. BPA has also been linked to breast, uterine, ovarian, and prostate cancers (4, 5).
Plastic bottles contain numbers on the bottom that reveal the source of the plastic. All plastics are toxic because they contain phalates which are potent xenoestrogenic chemicals. Even BPA free plastics contain phalates so they are not completely safe (6, 7). They are merely made with one less toxic chemical.
The Problem with Plastic:
Certain bottles leach less chemicals than others. Check the recycling symbol on your bottle. If it is a #2 HDPE (high density polyethylene), or a #4 LDPE (low density polyethylene), or a #5 PP (polypropylene), the bottle is less toxic (8).
The hard, durable plastic bottles are made with polycarbonate plastics that are identified by the #7 recycling symbol. These most often contain BPA and other toxic xenoestrogens.
Plastic is also highly toxic to the environment. The US Container Recycling Institute estimates that 67 million plastic water bottles are discarded every day. That is enough plastic water bottles to wrap around the planet 149 times each year (9).
Plastic Bottles and the Environment:
Plastic bottles have become the number one environmental pollutant. They make up a sizeable portion of the enormous plastic garbage patch that is currently floating around in the Pacific Ocean. This enormous plastic `reef` is currently more than twice the size of Texas and growing rapidly. It is located just a few hundred miles off the California coast (10).
The Sierra Club claims that just in the US alone, we use over 1.5 million barrels of oil to produce all the water bottles we throw away each year. These plastics infiltrate the environment with toxic compounds such as nickel, ethylbenzene, benzene, and ethylene oxide.
Get a high quality water filtration system and use glasses or mugs in the house and glass or stainless steel carrying bottles outside of the house.
Many quality water filtration systems remove chlorine, disinfectant byproducts (DBP’s), pesticides, Rx drug residue and other toxins. I recommend a good whole house water filtration system to ensure chlorine, DBP, pesticides and prescription drug residue from all the water (shower, cleaning, toilet bowl) in the house.
By having a good whole house filtration you dramatically improve your air quality which is vitally important to both short-term quality of life and long-term health. I use and recommend a strong carbon filtration system which I find is the best value whole house system.
You cannot beat Aquasauna whole house filtration systems when it comes to quality and customer service. You can check out their products here
Berkey Water Filters:
Berkey water filter systems are fantastic due to low cost and their remarkable ability to remove harmful pathogenic bacteria, cysts, parasites, and unhealthy chemical contaminants such as Chlorine to levels higher than 99.99%, while at the same time leaving in the essential minerals your body needs.
Berkey water filter systems also distinguish themselves from many other filtration systems by having the capabilities to significantly reduce fluoride and arsenic via the “PF” line of filters. Each durable Black Berkey Water filter will last up to 3000 gallons (6000 gallons per set of 2). This is much longer than the majority of water filter solutions on the market.
At 10 gallons per week, this equates to more than 11.5 years of healthy clean drinking water! Including fluoride and arsenic reduction, 1 gallon of Berkey water costs just 7 cents! Stop and think how much money you could save by the simple reduction in bottled water purchases by regularly using water filtered by your Berkey water filter.
Berkey systems do not rely on electricity and they are portable so you can travel with them. For those of you who live in apartments or rental homes, this is the most cost-effective solution for you. Check out the various systems and find out what Berkey system would be right for you here
Reverse osmosis is a great system to utilize due to its ability to get nearly all of these major toxins out of the water. On the downside it utilizes heavy amounts of water and strips minerals from the water. This can be draining on the environment but it does take out all contaminants in the water including flouride.
Some manufacturers are using colloidal silver to effectively disinfect the water and coral sand to boost the pH. They then add anti-oxidants using zeolite and essential minerals using jade to restore valuable calcium and magnesium in the proper ratios. This is highly recommended if available to you.
I personally have an Avalon System at my home for drinking water. This is a reverse osmosis system that adds back trace minerals and anti-oxidants described above.
You can also get a portable reverse osmosis drinking water system here which is a low-cost option for a house or an apartment. Add in a pinch of pink salt and a drop of your favorite essential oil per 8oz of water and you are good to go with a clean, mineralized, and anti-oxidant enriched water.
Be sure to get a high quality shower filters here as well so you don’t shower in toxic water.
Sources For This Article Include:
- NRDC – Bottled Water Link Here
- EWG – Bottled Water Quality Investigation Link Here
- Degen GH, Bolt HM. Endocrine disruptors: update on xenoestrogens. Int Arch Occup Environ Health. 2000 Sep;73(7):433-41. PMID: 11057411
- Srivastava S, Gupta P, Chandolia A, Alam I. Bisphenol A: a threat to human health? J Environ Health. 2015 Jan-Feb;77(6):20-6. PMID: 25619032
- Rochester JR. Bisphenol A and human health: a review of the literature. Reprod Toxicol. 2013 Dec;42:132-55. PMID: 23994667
- Sax L. Polyethylene Terephthalate May Yield Endocrine Disruptors. Environmental Health Perspectives. 2010;118(4):445-448.
- Vasami R. Polyethylene terephthalate and endocrine disruptors. Environ Health Perspect. 2010 May;118(5):A196-7. PMID: 20439174
- Smart Plastics Guide Link Here
- Container Recycling – Down the drain Link Here
- National Geographic – Great Pacific Garbage Patch Link Here