In 2003, Americans alone spent more than $7 billion on bottled water at an average cost of more than $1 a bottle. Americans throw away 2.5 million plastic bottles every hour.
Worldwide, we use over 30 billion plastic throw-away water bottles annually!
Plastic can take up to 1,000 years to degrade in a landfill.
Only about 25% of plastic used in the U.S. is recycled.
*In conclusive scientific studies, it has been discovered that the compound Bisphenol-A, found in most hard plastics, is one of the most toxic substances known to man. Many bottled water companies are using plastic bottles that contain this harmful chemical. It can leach into the water and cause many adverse health effects!
Is Bottled Water "Real" Spring Water?
Recent allegations against the Coca-Cola Company and its brand name of bottled water, Dasani, have publicly highlighted one of the biggest misconceptions about the quality of bottled water. Coca-Cola, advertising its bottled water as “pure, still water,” is now being investigated for misleading consumers about the true nature of the contents of its bottles. Rather than deriving its water from natural springs, Coca-Cola had actually been filling its Dasani bottles with purified tap water.
Of course, this problem of reconstituted tap water in Dasani bottles would not be so large if it was an isolated incident. Unfortunately, the process of bottling tap water is not limited to the Coca-Cola Company. In 1999, the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) published the results of a four-year study in which researchers tested more than 1,000 samples of 103 brands of bottled water. These researchers found that,
“An estimated 25 percent or more of bottled water is really just tap water in a bottle—sometimes further treated, sometimes not.”
In one case, a brand of bottled water, advertised as “pure, glacier water,” was found to be taken from a municipal water supply while another brand, flaunted as “spring water,” was pumped from a water source next to a hazardous waste dumping site. While “purified tap water” is arguably safer and purer than untreated tap water (depending upon the purification methods), a consumer should expect to receive something more than reconstituted tap water for the exceptional prices of bottled water.
If bottled water does not necessarily offer purer water than tap water, surely it provides a better tasting water product, right? The answer to this question is no. Bottled water does not always taste better than tap water.
In an interesting study conducted by Showtime television, the hosts found that 75% of tested New York City residents actually preferred tap water over bottled water in a blind taste test.
While taste is certainly highly subjective, this study shows that bottled water essentially holds nothing over tap water. In many cases, bottled water is no purer than tap water, and it may not even taste better.
Standards and Regulations for Bottled Water
Bottled water, because it is defines as "food" under federal regulations, is under the authority of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) while the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) - under much stricter standards - regulates tap water. Thus, bottled water, depending upon the brand, may actually be less clean and safe than tap water. The EPA mandates that local water treatment plants provide city residents with a detailed account of tap water's source and the results of any testing, including contaminant level violations. bottled water companies are under no such directives.
Also, while municipal water systems must test for harmful microbiological content in water several times a day, bottled water companies are required to test for these microbes only once a week.
Similarly, public water systems are required to test for chemical water contaminants four times as often as bottled water companies. In addition, loopholes in the FDA’s testing policy do not require the same standards for water that is bottled and sold in the same state, meaning that a significant number of bottles have undergone almost no regulation or testing.
Even under the more lax standards of the FDA, bottled water companies do not always comply with standardized contaminant levels.
Alarmingly, the 1999 NRDC study found that 18 of the 103 bottled water brands tested contained, in at least one sample, “more bacteria than allowed under microbiological-purity guidelines.”
Also, about one fifth of the brands tested positive for the presence of synthetic chemicals, such as industrial chemicals and chemicals used in manufacturing plastic like a harmful chemical that leaches into bottled water from its plastic container. In addition, bottled water companies are not required to test for the chlorine-resistant protozoan that infected more than 400,00 Milwaukee residents in 1993. Bottled water companies, because they are not under the same accountability standards as municipal water systems, may prove a significantly lower quality of water than the water one typically receives from the tap.
Check out this video called "The Story of Bottled Water" to find out more information on the misinformation of the bottle water industry, the industry regulations and how it effects the environment of the planet!