Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Bottled Water Bad for You and the Environment

Bottled Water Bad for You and the Environment
Young woman taking drink of bottled water, St....

Americans alone consume 29,000,000,000 yes that is 29 billion bottles of water a year. I am not sure why other than a well-managed marketing campaign by the major bottling companies. This number is only for the United States imagine the numbers if you include the rest of the world. I will work here with just the numbers from the US as they were easier to cross check.

A large pile of half-pint Poland Spring bottles
A large pile of half-pint Poland Spring bottles (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
From an environmental and economic point of view, bottled water is a catastrophic product.  The production of the bottles requires in excess of 17,000,000 barrels of oil. To put this into prospective that is enough oil for Americans to drive 1,000,000 cars for 12 months, an entire year. The production of these bottles ads to the greenhouse gases released by the US by approximately 2,000,000 tons and with only 13% being recycled the required landfill space for their disposal is astronomical. For the sake of bottled water Americans increase their dependents on foreign oil, increase both land and air pollution and spend billions of dollars for a product they have available for pennies a gallon.

The most common argument I here in favor of bottled water is the safety of drinking more highly processed or refined water. That it is cleaner and healthier than tap water. This is not the case and this belief actually places both you and your family at a higher risk from water borne pathogens and contaminants. True bottled water has to meet a different set of standards than tap water but different does not mean stricter.
Drinking Water
Drinking Water (Photo credit: SEDACMaps)

Thanks to the lobbying power of the bottling industry the standards for bottled water have been steadily lowered over the last ten years. Yes, politicians will sacrifice safety for campaign funds. In test performed by the FDA in conjunction with the EPA, 22% of the bottled water on the market in the US did not meet the standards for contaminants set for tap water.

Keep these numbers in mind next time you reach for that brightly labeled bottle of water. You’re not only buying water, you’re buying increased air and land pollution; you’re buying higher health risk; you’re buying increased dependents on foreign oil and you’re paying an exorbitant price for it. ENJOY!

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