Friday, May 22, 2009

Another Truth About Bottled Water

Bottled waterOver the past several years millions of dollars have been poured (pun intended) into campaigns to get us to drink more bottled water. It’s been touted as the healthy alternative to sugary soda, tea and juice; and everyone everywhere carries it with them.

But did you know that, unlike municipal water companies, bottled water companies are not required to make their water testing results public? Also, many drinking water contaminants are unregulated -- any level is legal as current FDA standards do not specify which microorganisms should be tested or what levels of source water contamination will make it unfit for bottling. The FDA website even states that "bottled water plants generally are assigned low priority for inspection."

The bottled water industry has a history of inappropriate labeling and lack of full disclosure. Bottlers are obligated by law to list on the label the type of bottled water and -- for bottled water sourced from a public water system -- the label must disclose that fact. However, this requirement can be circumvented by the bottlers; simply by using water that has been “purified,” “deionized” or “distilled” bottlers are free from legal obligation to disclose the tap water origin of their product.

The Environmental Working Group (EWG), a non-profit environmental research and advocacy organization, stated in a recent report that laboratory tests conducted at one of the country’s leading water quality laboratories found that 10 popular brands of bottled water purchased from grocery stores and other retailers in 9 states and the District of Columbia contained 38 chemical pollutants altogether, with an average of 8 contaminants in each brand. Specifically, disinfection byproducts, caffeine, acetaminophen, arsenic, radioactive isotopes, fertilizer residue (nitrate and ammonia), solvents, plasticizers, viscosity decreasing agents, and propellants were found. It was also observed that chemical contaminants in the bottled water samples stimulated accelerated division of cancer cells.

Aside from the pollutants that are in the water to begin with, storing it in plastic bottles made of Bisphenol A (BPA), dioxin, Bis (2-ethylhexyl) adipate (DEHA), phthalates and styrene makes it an even deadlier cocktail. If you are pregnant and/or have small children this information is especially vital to you; however, it is important for everyone. Toxic chemicals build up in our bodies over time and have been proven to lead to cancers and other health problems.

We obviously need to drink water. So what can we do to protect ourselves?

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