With annual sales closing in on $1 billion in 2019, bottled water companies continue to persuade the public that bottled water is not only cleaner than tap water but a healthier option too. The truth is, bottled water is a serious potential health hazard.
Scientists at the State University of New York found that 93% of the world’s bottled water contains microplastics you ingest when you drink it. A study in Germany identified upwards of 25,000 separate chemicals in tested bottled water samples – many at sufficient levels to cause a concerning level of hormone interference. These two facts underline how utility companies typically have to test the safety and quality of public drinking water more frequently than bottled water producers, which should help consumers respect the quality of municipal supplies.
The Environmental Protection Agency regulates the Australian water supply, enforcing upwards of 250 guidelines to ensure tap water has safe levels of contaminates. Utility companies add chemicals like chlorine and disinfectant by-products (DBP’s) to kill off any illness-causing bacteria. However, studies suggest both chlorine and DBP’s could be too toxic for human consumption. Not to mention tap water is at risk of other sources of contamination including industrial waste, pesticide run-off from farms and heavy metals like lead and arsenic. Additionally, as issues like rising salt levels in the Sydney water supply illustrate how standard water filtration is not enough to remove all contaminants from tap water.
Where does bottled water come from?
One source of bottled water is plain tap water, often without further treatment or filtration. Other sources include natural springs, water drawn from rainwater wells, or taken via a process of distillation. The concern is, the EPA has no regulatory power over bottled water. The responsibility lies with Food Standards Australia and New Zealand (FSANZ) – who have no obligation to ensure bottled water is safer than tap.
There are no regulations to say that bottled water must be disinfected. Moreover, bottled water companies have less control over the catchment in which they source their water, putting it at a higher risk of contamination. In truth, even major bottled water brands can contain water-borne pollutants, fertilizer residue and toxic by-products of chlorination.
Bottled water can be hazardous to your health and the environment
Bottled water & BPA
BPA stands for Bisphenol A. It’s an industrial chemical used in plastic production and commonly found in plastic water bottles. Research suggests that BPA can migrate from containers into liquids. If it does, it can disrupt hormonal function in humans and impact brain development in foetuses and young children, cause behavioural change, result in problems with reproduction as well as increase blood pressure, leading to heart disease.
Chemicals in your water bottle
The chemicals present in your water bottle will depend on which type of plastic it’s made. Check the number in the recycling symbol on your bottle to see if you’re at a higher or lower risk. Plastic #1 (PET – Polyethylene terephthalate) is the most common in drinks water bottles and poses no known risk to human health. Plastics #2 (HDPE - high-density polyethylene), #4 (LDPE – low-density polyethylene) and #5 (PP – polypropylene) are also low risk.
Plastic #7 likely contains BPA and so is best avoided: this plastic is commonly used in reusable water bottles used by athletes and cyclists. Even if a plastic container doesn’t contain BPA, it likely includes phthalates.
Bottled water and the environment
Plastic pollution has become the #1 environmental battle of our generation. We buy one million plastic bottles every minute with roughly 8m tons of plastic dumped into the ocean every year. As if the visible pollution isn’t enough, the carbon footprint to produce bottled water is unfathomable. It takes an estimated 54m barrels of oil to generate enough energy to produce bottled water for a country like the United States – that’s including the process used to make the bottles, store and transport the water, then recycle the empty containers.
Three reasons to switch to filtered water
- 99.9999% bacteria-free – regulations for testing bacteria in bottled water are not that strict and could result in elevated levels of pathogens whereas high-quality purification means the best filtered water is 99.9999% bacteria-free;
- 2,000x cheaper – consumers are paying almost 2,000x as much for bottled water when they could have it from the tap for next-to-nothing;
- 3 for 1 – it takes 3 litres of water to produce just 1 litre of bottled water resulting in the huge waste of a resource that’s readily available on-tap.
How a high-quality water dispenser resolves concerns
High quality office water dispensers are the ideal solution for anyone searching for perfectly pure, contaminant-free water. Advanced carbon filtration systems remove unwanted pollutants like chlorine, lead, pesticides, and other suspended particles. Then microbiological UV purification is the chemical-free process that eliminates potential pathogens and bacteria like E. Coli, Salmonella, and Hepatitis.
Offices can save anywhere from 30 – 70% by switching to a bottleless supply, as much as $585-per-month for a 100-person office as you avoid the cost of deliveries, administration and storage of plastic bottles. You can lower your carbon footprint by upwards of 72% as you stop sending plastic to landfill, avoid energy-intensive deliveries, and reduce your dependence on plastic.