We’re all told that water is good for us and that we should drink a lot more of it than we already do. We’re told to cut sodas, juices, and alcohol, and to replace it all with water. It’s commonly thought that bottled water is as healthy as any other form of the fluid, but did you know that there are brands of bottled water out there that will do your body far more harm than good? In fact, the majority of water sold in plastic bottles is contaminated with toxic microplastics (1).
Plastic has become an extraordinarily convenient abuse to not only the environment, but also to the human race. It’s contaminated our streets, woods, oceans, and our bodies with toxic waste, populated landfills to a disgusting extent. Maybe it’s time we reconsider the value of bottled water?
What’s the actual danger in bottled water?
The United State’s Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) states that bottled water is simply, “water that is intended for human consumption and that is sealed in bottles or other containers with no added ingredients except that it may optionally contain safe and suitable antimicrobial agents. Fluoride may be optionally added within the limitations established” (2).
So there regulations for it, right? Well, yes, but no….
The FDA technically regulates bottled drinking water, classifying it as a food. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulated our tap water, and however surprisingly, the EPA’s guidelines of municipal water is far more strict then the FDA’s restrictions for bottled water meant for human consumption (2). This means that you could purchase bottled water that the FDA has deemed acceptable, but that the EPA wouldn’t allow to flow through your bathroom tap.
In a recent study by German researchers, nearly 25,000 chemicals have been found swimming within a single bottle of water, many of which mimic the effects of potent pharmaceuticals once inside your body (3). Additionally, researchers in New York examined 259 bottles of mineral water from 11 popular brands today and discovered microscopic microplastics inside (1). The brand names include Aquafina, Nestle Pure Life, Evian, Dasani, and San Pelligerino (1). In this study, only 17 of the 259 bottles were found to be void of microplastic particles, and none of the brands were entirely safe from toxic impurities (1).
Range of Microplastic Particles Found in the 259 bottles of the 11 Brands Tested: (5)
- Aqua: Lowest/liter 0; Highest/liter 4,713
- Aquafina: Lowest/liter 2; Highest/liter 1,295
- Bisleri: Lowest/liter 0; Highest/liter 5,230
- Dasani: Lowest/liter 2; Highest/liter 335
- Epura: Lowest/liter 0; Highest/liter 2,267
- Evian: Lowest/liter 0; Highest/liter 256
- Gerolsteiner: Lowest/liter 9; Highest/liter 5,160
- Minalba: Lowest/liter 0; Highest/liter 863
- Nestle Pure Life: Lowest/liter 6; Highest/liter 10,390
- San Pellegrino: Lowest/liter 0; Highest/liter 74
- Wahaha: Lowest/liter 1; Highest/liter 731
How big of a problem is it?
Americans paid over $12 billion last year alone to drink over 9 billion gallons of bottled water (4). That’s a lot of unidentified chemicals to be unknowingly consumed! While tap water is required to be tested and its results published yearly, bottled water is under no such standard (4). The bottled water industry isn’t required to post their safety standards or the testing results. They simply slap on images of mountain springs on their clear plastic bottles and quadruple the price of their water from the price of tap water (4). The typical cost of a gallon of bottled water is $3.79, which is 1,900 times the cost of a gallon of public tap water (4).
In response to these recent studies, the World Health Organization (WHO) has decided to intervene (1). The WHO “has pledged to introduce a security review to examine the possible brief- and long-term health threats of taking in microplastic in water” (1).
Bottled water is poisoning us, contaminating cities, and polluting our oceans. Perhaps it’s time to do something about it! Reach for the steel bottles that you can refill yourself. More and more there are even glass bottles of water for sale. Do yourself and the environment a favor, and stop drinking toxins.