Myth: Drinking bottled water is safer than drinking tap water.
Truth: You are being ripped off, and then poisoned, by drinking bottled water from unknown sources.
The results of a two-year study by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) were recently released, detailing the lab tests of 10 brands of bottled drinking water from 8 different states in the US.
Recently found in bottled drinking water: Trihalomethanes, Haloacetic acids, Nitrates, Ammonia, Acetaldehyde, Hexane, Toluene, bacterial contamination, Arsenic, radioactivity contamination (and more…)
Not the sort of chemical cocktail you had in mind when you bought bottled water at the grocery store, now is it?
The report is shocking.
38 different chemical pollutants were detected, with an average of 8 contaminants per brand. One-third of the chemicals they found are not even regulated in drinking water. Some brands, like Sam’s Choice (WalMart) and Acadia (Giant) contained cancer-causing chemicals at levels exceeding the standards for safety set by the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986.
A survey of 228 brands of bottled water by EWG found that less than half gave any information about the source of the water or any treatment (if treated at all). So where does the water come from?
Funny you should ask.
It could come from a rusty tap under the bathroom sink. It could come from a sterile bottling room. Who the hell knows?
It turns out that bottled water suppliers aren’t required to disclose the results of any contaminant testing or identify the source of the water. Tap water providers are required to report to consumers about filtration techniques, water source, and any contaminants found in the supply.
With bottled water being sold for up to 1000 times the cost of tap water, you might expect it to be somehow safer or healthier. Not so. It might just be tap water with a fancy label and a picture of a pristine mountain meadow…
Why the deception?
Because bottled water is a 12 Billion dollar a year industry in America!
“For years the bottled water industry has marketed their product with the message that it is somehow safer or purer than tap water. . “This new report provides even more evidence that the purity of bottled water is nothing more than a myth propagated to trick consumers into paying thousands times more for a product than what it is actually worth.” -Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch, a non-profit consumer advocacy group
What can you do to ensure safe drinking water for your family?
- Check out your city’s water supply at the National Tap Water Quality Database
- Get a carbon filter or reverse osmosis filter for your tap at home and drink filtered tap water.
- Change the filter cartridge regularly, as recommended
- Carry your water with you in a BPA-free container, like stainless steel, so you aren’t tempted to buy bottled water.
- Send your kids with water in a stainless or BPA-free container. Don’t let others give your kids bottled water.
- Use filtered water for cooking as well.
Read EWG’s full report on bottled water.
Image: LeeBrimelow on Flickr under Creative Commons License