Many people opt for bottled water hoping to avoid the potential pathogens lurking inside of regular tap water. But consuming bottled water contributes to the ever-growing problem of discarded plastic bottles and other waste, and you may not be getting what you think when choosing bottled water over tap water. The National Resources Defense Council says sales of bottled water have tripled in the past 10 years to around $4 billion per year, fueled largely on the premise that bottled water comes from crystal-clear springs or untouched glaciers.
According to U.S. government estimates
and industry experts, as much as 40 percent
of bottled water is derived from tap water.
The NRDC says one brand of spring water
was found to come from a well in an industrial facility’s parking lot near a hazardous waste dump. Also, many bottled waters are exempt from the Food and Drug Administrations bottled water standards because the FDA says its rules do not apply to water packaged and sold within the same state. When waters are covered
and tested, they may be subject to weaker regulations than regular tap water.
What’s more, even if bottled water is thoroughly filtered, data suggests that plastic bottles could be putting your health at risk.
According to the organization Ban the Bottle, water contained in polyethylene terephthalate bottles can absorb chemicals from the plastic the longer the water is in storage. These include a chemical called antimony, a white metallic element that in small doses can cause nausea, dizziness and depression. In large doses, antimony can be fatal. Bottled water that is sitting in a hot area can leach the chemicals even faster.