Why Bottled Water Isn’t Better
A collaboration post between janny: organically. and Healthfully Hannah
With water contamination incidents on the rise, more of us are questioning the purity of our tap water. For the first time ever, bottled water sales are set to out sell soda in the United States. While this may be a great indication of healthier choices, or just a reaction to the contamination concerns, bottled water may not be as clean as you think.
Choosing bottled water may seem like a safer option at first, but the truth is bottled water isn’t better than tap water. In many cases, it’s even worse. (Yes, you heard me right!)
Several leading bottled water brands have been charging a premium price on bottling plain ole tap water, like Dasani, Sparkletts, and the most recent admission coming from Aquafina, owned by PepsiCo.
The Environmental Working Group conducted a study to learn more about the water from popular bottled water brands. What’s most alarming is 9 out of the 10 brands surveyed refused to be transparent about their sourcing, treatment, and most importantly purity. If we’re going to be paying for water, we should at least have the right to know where the water is from, how it is treated, and the levels of contaminants it contains, wouldn’t you agree?
When you learn only “18% (of bottled water brands) publish ‘water quality’ reports which lack any actual testing results,” you start to question the safety and purity of bottled water.
Another risk with bottled water
In addition to the lack of transparency regarding the purity of bottled water, you’re faced with another critical problem with bottled water, plastic. Storing foods and liquids in plastic creates a health risk in itself, as we know that plastic is made with hormone-disrupting such as bisphenol-A (BPA and even BPS in those “BPA-Free” bottles) and phthalates. These have been linked to various health concerns including early onset of puberty in girls, infertility in men and women, and neurological problems.
Additionally, American's are using over 50 billion of plastic water bottles yearly, yet almost 80% of them end up in the landfill.
Carcinogens in our water?
People have a right to be concerned about drinking tap water. The Flint, Michigan Lead crisis is just one example of recent contamination. Earlier this year, Oregon’s public school districts were found to contain lead at more than FOUR times higher than the highest level found in Flint, Michigan.
Additionally, after the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) launched their nationwide tests for chromium-6 (aka the Erin Brokovich chemical), The Environmental Working Group (EWG) found chromium-6 in more than 75% of the 60,000 samples.
Why does this matter? Airborne chromium-6, which is produced by industrial processes, has been shown to cause lung cancer, liver damage, reproductive problems, and developmental harm. Imagine how the cocktail of chemicals found in water supplies is impacting us.
The EPA has set their standard of 100 parts per billion (ppb) for total chromium in drinking water. There is no specific standard for chromium-6 though the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment has set a public health goal of 0.02 ppb. They estimate your risk at developing cancer from this particular heavy metal at 1 in 1 million for drinking it at this rate.
It’s also important to note that chromium-6 can transform from its hexavalent form to its trivalent form (Chromium-3), and vice versa. This means the measurement and regulation of chromium should assume the total amount can convert into the its toxic form of chromium-6.
Fetuses, infants and children are more vulnerable to the effects of chromium-6. It has been shown that individuals with less acidic stomachs face challenges converting chromium-6 to chromium-3 which puts them at a heightened risk.
As of September 20th, 2016, nationwide drinking water tests by the Environmental Working Group shows that the chemical ‘Chromium-6’ contaminates the water supply for over 200 million Americans in all 50 states. You can check the levels in your area by clicking on this interactive map.
If you’re trying to avoid chemicals in your water, don’t assume that bottled water is better. Since bottled water is often the same water from our faucets, it would be just as contaminated with a host of harmful contaminants including the ones listed above along with chlorine, fluoride, VOC’s, heavy metals, pesticides, pharmaceutical drugs and thousands more.
What about Well Water?
Those of you with well water, while it may seem better than tap water, the purity of well water actually depends on the environment. Take for example, the elevated levels of chromium-6 found in hundreds of private wells near the dump site of Duke Energy’s coal ash. Living near industrial and agricultural land can definitely affect the purity of the water.
The Best Option for Safe Water
The best way to ensure that your drinking water is as safe as possible is to drink pure, filtered water. However, many commerical water filters do not effectively remove the majority of harmful contaminants, which is why it’s important to learn how your water filter compares and to choose an efficient water filter that filters out the majority of contaminants, including the ones discussed in this post.
The most powerful (and most cost-effective) counter-top water purifier is the Berkey Filter. The technology Berkey utilizes was developed, refined, and proven through years of investigative research and testing performed by leading specialists, researchers and engineers. Click here to read why we recommend it above all other filters. For maximum purity, be sure to install their black berkey filters, which significantly reduce all of the following contaminants.
To avoid water contamination outside of the home, we take our Berkey-filtered water with us. We use the Pura Kiki Water Bottles which are 100% plastic free (full review). We even take our Travel Berkey on the road with us!
This post contains affiliate links.