say no to bottled water
By Sarav Chouhan
expectations vs reality
Here are the results to one of the questions:
In fact, tap water might even be a better alternative than bottled water; it is guaranteed to be safer to drink. Toronto's tap water is tested every 4-6 hours for more than 300 potential pollutants whereas bottled water is only inspected monthly. It isn't checked as often because it is classified under the Food and Drugs Act since it is considered a food. This act isn't suitable for water since it only requires to be checked for a few contaminants (i.e. arsenic, lead, and coliform bacteria). This is because food products can't contain "poisonous and harmful chemicals", and since bottled water is classified as a food, it only needs to meet the Food and Drugs Act requirements, and not the regular water ones.
harmful contaminants in bottled water
the bottles themselves
Here are the results to another one of the questions from the survey:
water bottles are detrimental to the environment
- (Photo by Chris Jordan)
The manufacturing of the bottles alone emits poisonous compounds, such as benzene, nickel, ethylbenzene, and ethylene oxide, into the air. The amount of oil used in order to produce the bottles is significant; it could fuel a million cars every year. The process of transporting the bottles across the world and into your homes causes a lot of pollution as well.
Sometimes the non-recycled bottles are taken to incinerators. Incinerators release toxins into the air and into oceans, which also negatively impacts the environment by gradually disintegrating and entering aquatic food webs. The food chains existing underwater are then exposed to the harmful chemicals and eventually die. When the chemicals dissolve into the bodies of water, they not only affect the animals and plant life, but also affect us humans. When oceans are polluted, the food we receive from the ocean has a possibility of being contaminated, therefore limiting our food supply and/or spreading illnesses. Not only do chemicals enter underwater food chains, but the bottles themselves do too. Incorrect disposal of plastic waste harms the environment and ourselves. When the healthy water supply decreases, it can affect human activities too. For example, the valuable minerals we get from the ocean would be destroyed, we wouldn't be able to use the ocean for aquatic sports when there is so much garbage blocking the water surface, and travelling would be difficult.
Bottled water is destructive to the environment, it is dangerous to your health, and it unreasonably costs a lot of money; it can cost anywhere from $0.08/500mL bottle bought in bulk to $2.50/ branded bottle in a vending machine. Judging from the expensive prices, one would expect it to be superior than tap water. In reality, it is just regular tap water, sometimes with a little filtering, sometimes not; therefore, it is highly unreasonable to pay so much for tap water you can get at home at a much lower price.
Tap water is safer than bottled water and is less expensive (it costs approximately $0.10/L in Canada), but still contains many harmful chemicals.*
Not all chemicals in tap water are bad; however, most of the compounds are harmful (eg. copper, mercury, zinc, cadmium, chlorine, fluoride, pharmaceuticals, etc). Since most bottled water companies use tap water, bottled water has the same risks as well. In order to stop being the part of the world that currently spends more than $100 billion/year on bottled water, be smart and purchase a filter instead!
- Once the plastic bottle of water is sealed, it is kept in storage for months before it is sold. It must be drunk within a few days of opening since it can't remain sterile once it's opened.
- Reuse of the plastic water bottles can increase the risk of bacteria infections and the leaching of potentially harmful chemicals
- If a plastic water bottle is left in a hot car, the exposure is magnified because eat and stress increase the amount of chemicals that leach out of the plastic.
If all these precautions are needed, why not just avoid them and opt for your own filtered water in your own bottle?
resources / bibliography
Tuohy, Laurel. "Is It Safe to Drink Purified Water?" LIVESTRONG.COM. LIVESTRONG.COM, 03 Feb. 2014. Web. 29 Dec. 2014. (http://www.livestrong.com/article/352058-is-it-safe-to-drink-purified-water/)
Mcdermott, Nick. "Bottled Water 'less Safe' than Tap (despite Costing up to 1,000 times More)." Mail Online. Associated Newspapers, 12 Mar. 2013. Web. 27 Dec. 2014. (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2255803/Bottled-water-safe-tap-despite-costing-1-000-times-more.html)
Ostrander, Madeline. "Bottled Water Costs 2,000 Times More than Tap."YES! Magazine. YES! Magazine, 22 Mar. 2010. Web. 27 Dec. 2014. (http://www.yesmagazine.org/planet/the-story-of-bottled-water)
Huff, Ethan A. "Coca-Cola Admits Dasani Is Really Just 'purified' Tap Water." NaturalNews. N.p., 27 Jan. 2013. Web. 19 Dec. 2014. (http://www.naturalnews.com/038840_dasani_tap_water_purified.html#
Bradley, David. "Worrying Molecule Found in Bottled Water." RSC RSS. N.p., 9 Sept. 2013. Web. 27 Dec. 2014. (http://www.rsc.org/chemistryworld/2013/09/worrying-molecule-bottled-water-endocrine)
Stastna, Kazi. "Bottle vs. Tap: 7 Things to Know about Drinking Water."CBCnews. CBC/Radio Canada, 10 Oct. 2014. Web. 3 Jan. 2015. (http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/bottle-vs-tap-7-things-to-know-about-drinking-water-1.2774182)
"Best and Worst Bottled Water Brands." Mercola.com. N.p., 21 Jan. 2011. Web. 3 Jan. 2015. (http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/01/21/best-and-worst-bottled-water-brands.aspx)
Brita. "Brita® Natural Water Filtration Process - Brita® Canada." Brita Canada. The Clorox Company of Canada, 2014. Web. 05 Jan. 2015. (http://brita.ca/water-filtration-process/)