Environmental Regulations A Are Formulated Mostly At The Federal Leve The Truth About Bottled Water

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The Truth About Bottled Water

Bottled water consumption has increased dramatically over the past two decades. As Americans, we spent over 11 billion last year consuming 8.3 billion gallons of bottled water making it the fifth most attractive beverage sold in the United States. This is most obviously due to, first, public perception that our municipal supply is unhealthy and second, and a more health conscious trend in America. The explosion in profits of companies like Dasani, Aquafina, Evian, Arrowhead and others is the result of their success in giving us the impression that their water comes from natural water sources like distant glaciers and crystal clear mountain springs. A study by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) found that between 25% and 40% of bottled water comes straight “from the tap,” including Dasani (Coke), and Aquafina (Pepsi). (NRDC) also found that after testing 1000 bottles of more than 100 popular brands, 33% contained bacterial contamination, synthetic organic chemicals including industrial solvents, and inorganic contaminants such as arsenic.

So who is to blame? Almost no one. Federal Food and Drug Administration. (FDA) is responsible for the quality of bottled water in this country and “less than one person” is in charge. Which is not surprising when you know that any water bottled and sold in the same state is exempt from FDA quality control and accounts for 60-70% of the water sold. Only 1 in 5 states regulate that water. So when it comes down to it, the water you buy doesn’t clearly label its origin and stays on its label, you’re often drinking filtered tap or water that comes from the same source if not less. (NRDC) investigated a major producer of “spring water” that actually came from an industrial parking lot adjacent to a hazardous waste site. This is just another case of people being duped because they didn’t inform themselves. And it gets worse.

The biggest problem isn’t the quality of the water, because it’s really the filtered tap, it’s the bottle! A bottle can sit, open for weeks at room temperature before being filled and is a breeding ground for bacteria. Even if the brand you choose is truly pure and healthy, the bottle it’s packaged in and the time it’s stored before consumption can dramatically change its “purity.” Water freezes in plastic bottles at manufacturers, warehouses, distributors and retailers allowing enough time to extract the components from these plastic containers made from crude oil. These components are known cancer-causing agents. This is a real concern.

A new report warns that people’s thirst for bottled water is generating unnecessary waste and consuming huge amounts of energy, even in places where good drinking water is available on tap. A report released earlier this month by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) said global consumption of bottled water doubled between 1999 and 2004 to 41 billion gallons (154 billion liters) annually. Bottled water is often less healthy than tap water, but it can be 10,000 times more expensive, says Emily Arnold, a researcher at a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit. “As much as $2.50 [U.S.] per liter [$10 U.S. a gallon]Bottled water costs more than gasoline,” she said. A lot of this extra cost is driven by transportation and packaging.” “About a quarter of all bottled water crosses national borders to reach consumers,” Arnold said. The report provides an example. A company in Helsinki, Finland, shipped 1.4 million bottles of Finnish tap water to Saudi Arabia in 2004—2,700 miles (4,300 kilometers) away. Famous French brands Evian and Volvic export 50 and 60 percent of their water to destinations. globe. The report lists the U.S. as the world’s largest bottled water drinker; Mexico has the second highest consumption, after China and Brazil. Italians drink the most per person, equivalent to two glasses a day.

So what do we do? First, boycott bottled water! Second, take a report on the current local municipal supply and decide whether it is satisfactory. If you know you don’t want to drink it, look around, you’ll see plenty of reverse osmosis water distribution sites at local corner markets where you can get clean water for about 25 cents per gallon. That’s a fraction of the cost of bottled water and guaranteed high quality. From everything I’ve read and researched the true solution lies in purchasing a multi-stage whole house filter. These filters should include a pre-filter to remove dirty sediment, sand and other physical particles. Then follow a combination of filters to remove chemicals and bacteria. Reverse osmosis systems provide great tasting clean water without many of the salts that other filters release but create a fair bit of dirt. A mineral supplement is definitely necessary for someone who only drinks reverse osmosis water because many essential minerals are removed.

For smaller budgets, look for personal faucet water filters, refrigerator water filters, pitchers, and gravity filters. These small budget filters do a good job of getting most of the chlorine and heavy metals out and give a clean taste. One thing for sure, it will be better than most bottled water you can buy, for pennies on the dollar. There are many great water filtration systems out there and choosing the right one for your particular situation can be difficult.

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