The Problem With Bottled Water and Plastic Water Bottles
The bottled water industry is a fast-growing industry, mainly because advertisements have convinced consumers that tap water is unsafe for consumption. As mentioned earlier, up to 40% of bottled water is sourced from tap water. Bottled water may taste better than tap water but is it really safer?
A study of 103 bottled water brands conducted by the Natural Resources Defense Council in the USA revealed that about one-quarter of the brands tested contained unsafe levels of chemical or bacterial contamination in some samples.
A test conducted by the Environmental Working Group uncovered 38 contaminants in 10 bottled water brands including nitrate, arsenic, Disinfection By-Products (DBPs), caffeine, Tylenol and other industrial chemicals.
Indeed, the bottled water industry has fewer restrictions and regulations than the utility companies that usually supply tap water. This would explain why they seem to be more careless and why more contaminants are likely to be found in bottled water than in your regular tap water.
Plastic Water Bottles
Bisphenol A (BPA) is an industrial chemical that has been used to make certain plastics including water bottles since the 1960s. Some research has shown that BPA can cause health effects on the brain, behaviour, and prostate gland of children, infants, and foetuses. Other research also suggests that BPA can cause increased blood pressure. Fortunately, more manufacturers are using BPA-free products.
However, BPA-free plastic water bottles may still have some chemicals that may seep out if the bottle is exposed to heat or if it is not used for a long time. Research suggests that these chemicals may be endocrine disruptors (chemicals that can interfere with out hormone/endocrine system at certain doses) but studies so far are inconclusive.
Empty water bottles (BPA or not) are a major contribution to pollution in the world. In the USA, more than 67 million plastic water bottles are thrown out daily.
Conclusion: Bottled water may not be completely safe and plastic water bottles are definitely not environment friendly.