Everything You Need To Know About Water Bottles

Water Bottle Facts

Drinking plenty of clean water is one of the best things you can do for your health, so it’s no surprise that bottled water is the fastest-growing beverage choice in the world.[1] But is bottled water as healthy as it claims? Read these bottled water facts to learn more about the real costs to your body, planet, and wallet.

Why You Should Not Drink Water in Plastic Bottles

A dirty secret of the bottled water industry is that bottled water is often just regular old tap water. According to information from Business Insider, some of the biggest names in bottled water, including Dasani, Aquafina, Nestle, and Smart Water get their product from municipal water systems, bought for a few pennies and sold at a huge markup.[2] While bottled water is great for the companies that make it, the truth is that it’s expensive for consumers, bad for your health, and is an ecological disaster for the planet.

Why Bottled Water Waste Is Bad for the Environment

Plastic water bottle waste has had a devastating effect on our environment. While plastic bottles are recyclable, most are simply thrown in the trash. According to the United States. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), less than one-third of all plastic bottles are recycled.[3] In the U.S. alone, about 29 million tons of plastic containers end up in landfills every year. Another 7 million tons are incinerated, releasing greenhouse gasses and increasing our carbon footprint.[4]

Plastic Water Bottles End up in the Ocean

Almost all plastic bottles that aren’t recycled, burned, or or placed in a landfill eventually make their way into our oceans. Plastic in our oceans isn’t just ugly; it’s destroying marine ecosystems and causing havoc for sea life. Unlike paper or cardboard, plastic waste doesn’t decompose. Plastic water bottles are made of a chemical called polyethylene terephthalate (PET), which takes 400 years to break down naturally.[5]

Plastic Water Bottles Break Down Into Hazardous Microplastics

Ocean waves will eventually break a discarded plastic bottle into tiny pieces, but even then, it doesn’t go away. It simply becomes a new marine hazard known as microplastics. Microplastics are plastic bits smaller than 5 millimeters long, and our oceans are filled with a staggering amount. According to a 2014 study, there are an estimated 15 to 51 trillion plastic particles in our oceans.[6] These plastic bits smother coral reefs and devastate the ecosystem. Plastics can be swallowed by sea life, blocking the digestive tract and leading to starvation and death.[7] A 2016 United Nations report found almost 800 species of marine life contaminated by plastics.[8] However, it’s not just sea life that’s affected. All of us are exposed to plastic toxicity. When fish and shellfish ingest the smallest microplastics, the plastic can become lodged in their flesh. When we eat seafood, these plastics can be transferred to our bodies. A 2014 study found that a person who eats a lot of seafood may unintentionally ingest 11,000 pieces of plastic every year.[9]

Transporting Bottled Water Leaves a Large Carbon Footprint

There’s also a subtler way that bottled water consumption is bad for the environment—transportation. Bottled water travels a surprisingly long distance before you drink it. After water is pumped out of its source, it’s bottled in a plant and has to be shipped by truck to distribution centers and grocery stores, creating unnecessary greenhouse gas emissions and increasing your carbon footprint. Imported water adds a several-thousand-mile boat ride into the equation. Compare this to tap water, which is piped directly into your home with zero greenhouse gas emissions.

How Plastic Water Bottles Affect Your Health

Many people have switched to bottled water because they believe it is healthier than tap water, but that may not be true. According to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there is zero evidence that bottled water is any safer than tap.[10] In fact, recent evidence suggests that bottled water may actually harm human health.

Is There BPA in Plastic Water Bottles?

BPA, or bisphenol A, is an industrial chemical used to make polycarbonate plastics, including many plastic water bottles. You can also find it in certain epoxy resins, which are used to line the inside of some metal food and beverage cans. A 2011 study discovered that all commercial plastic products release some amount of endocrine-disrupting chemicals, including BPA. These toxins can cause a host of hormonal problems, including reduced sperm counts, early-onset puberty, damage to reproductive organs, obesity, and behavioral issues.[11] This kind of contamination is incredibly common. The CDC found detectable levels of BPA in 93% of people six years and older.[12]

Are Plastic Water Bottles Cancerous?

Chemicals like BPA also increase the risk of certain types of cancers, including breast, testicular, ovarian, and prostate cancers. Parents should be especially aware of this issue, as BPA is most harmful to children, newborns, and pregnant women.[11]

Is Filtered Tap Water Safer Than Bottled Water?

Despite public perception that bottled water is healthier than tap water, the truth is that tap water is much safer, especially filtered tap water. While tap water is highly regulated and monitored, there are few federal regulations on bottled water. A University of Texas study found that bottled water has a significantly higher risk of bacterial contamination than tap water when stored at warm temperatures.[13]

Bottled Water Is Expensive

According to data from Harvard University, tap water in the U.S. costs only about 2 cents per gallon on average. Meanwhile, bottled water can be 3,000 times more expensive than tap water.[14] You’ve probably heard that you should drink eight glasses of water a day for good health. If you drink eight glasses of bottled water every day for a year, it can cost over $2,000. Drink that same amount from the tap, and you can expect to pay closer to 73 cents for the whole year.[15]

Why Under Sink Water Filters Are Better Than Bottled Water

Tap water is cheaper, healthier, and more environmentally friendly than bottled water. The only trouble with tap is that municipal water systems and private wells run the risk of contamination. Aging pipes, industrial and agricultural runoff, naturally-occurring heavy metal and chemicals in the ground, and dozens of other things can all make tap-water unsafe. That’s why it’s important to invest in a high-quality under sink water filtration system for your home. A good water filter can remove contaminants and leave you with pure, fresh, safe water. Many types of water filters that can help you save money and preserve the environment. Which one is right for you depends on your own preferences and needs. Check out our under sink water filtration systems or talk to our friendly, knowledgeable customer service team now to find your solution to drinking water the eco-friendly way.

Sources

  1. Baumgartner M. Study: Bottled Water No Safer Than Tap Water. ABC News. https://abcnews.go.com/Business/study-bottled-water-safer-tap-water/story?id=87558. Published May 3, 2014. Accessed July 6, 2019.
  2. Rega S. Animated map shows where your bottled water actually comes from. Business Insider. https://www.businessinsider.com/animated-map-bottled-water-springs-dasani-aquafina-2016-10. Published October 20, 2016. Accessed July 9, 2019.
  3. Plastics: Material Specific Data. EPA.gov. https://www.epa.gov/facts-and-figures-about-materials-waste-and-recycling/plastics-material-specific-data. Updated May 7, 2019. Accessed July 4, 2019.
  4. Containers and Packaging: Product-Specific Data. EPA.gov. https://www.epa.gov/facts-and-figures-about-materials-waste-and-recycling/containers-and-packaging-product-specific-data. Updated May 7, 2019. Accessed July 4, 2019.
  5. Nace T. We’re Now At A Million Plastic Bottles Per Minute – 91% Of Which Are Not Recycled. Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/trevornace/2017/07/26/million-plastic-bottles-minute-91-not-recycled/#6b677334292c. Published July 26, 2017. Accessed July 6, 2019.
  6. Van Sebille E, et al. A global inventory of small floating plastic debris. Environmental Research Letters. 2015;10(12). https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748-9326/10/12/124006.
  7. A Guide to Plastic in the Ocean. National Ocean Service. https://oceanservice.noaa.gov/hazards/marinedebris/plastics-in-the-ocean.html. Updated April 11, 2019. Accessed July 4, 2019.
  8. Marine Debris: Understanding, Preventing and Mitigating the Significant Adverse Impacts on Marine and Coastal Biodiversity. Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity. UNEP 2016. https://www.cbd.int/doc/publications/cbd-ts-83-en.pdf.
  9. Van Cauwenberghe L, Janssen C. Microplastics in bivalves cultured for human consumption. Environmental Pollution. 2014;193: 65-70. http://www.ecotox.ugent.be/microplastics-bivalves-cultured-human-consumption.
  10. Drinking Water Quality. CDC.gov. https://www.cdc.gov/pictureofamerica/pdfs/Picture_of_America_Drinking_Water.pdf. Accessed June 30, 2019.
  11. Yang CZ, et al. Most Plastic Products Release Estrogenic Chemicals: A Potential Health Problem That Can Be Solved. Environ Health Perspect. 2011;119(7):989–996. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3222987/
  12. Bisphenol A (BPA). National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. https://www.niehs.nih.gov/health/topics/agents/sya-bpa/index.cfm. Updated May 23, 2019. Accessed July 4, 2019.
  13. Raj SD. Bottled water: how safe is it? Water Environ Res. 2005;77(7): 3013. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16381148.
  14. Top Three Reasons to Avoid Bottled Water. Harvard University. https://green.harvard.edu/tools-resources/green-tip/reasons-avoid-bottled-water. Accessed July 6, 2019.
  15. Bottled Water vs. Tap Water. Milwaukee Water Works. https://city.milwaukee.gov/water/customer/FAQs/qualityandhealth/Bottled-water-vs.-tap-water.htm#.XR5kDOtKjRY. Accessed July 4, 2019.