What is Really in Bottled Water?
There is no denying that bottled water is global business. Consumption is continuing to increase year on year particularly in countries where clean potable tap water is available at very low or no cost”. Studies have shown that individuals who frequently purchase bottled water do so mainly because of perceived health benefits, and also because of convenience and taste.
The huge industry supporting the sale of bottled water has even started to raise concerns regarding how much energy is required to produce and use bottled water. It has been estimated that three litres of water are used to produce a single litre of bottled water. So they are not environmentally friendly. Yet more worrying still, is what is actually contained within the bottled water that is flying off of the shelves.
Quality You may be surprised to learn that bottled water companies are not required to reveal the sources of the water that they sell. Nor are they legally bound to provide reports on the quality of the water that is bottled for public consumption. Bottled water is generally derived from three sources – natural mineral water, water that is drawn from springs and wells, and it has even been found that some manufacturers are selling filtered municipal water that they draw from a tap, but at 1000 times more than we usually pay for it! An environmental working group tested more than ten popular brands of bottled water and found thirty eight low level contaminants, including disinfection by-products (DBP), caffeine, industrial chemicals, arsenic and bacteria. Plastic bottles The bigger problem may actually lie with the plastic bottle that the water is contained in. According to Martin Wagner and Jörg Oehlmann from the Department of Aquatic Ecotoxicology at the Goethe University in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, plastic mineral water bottles contaminate drinking water with estrogenic chemicals. Plastic and paperboard bottles are usually made with Bisphenol A or BPA. BPA is a manmade chemical that is produced in enormous quantities across the world and it is used in the manufacture of many plastics. Traces of it are found in within the food stuffs contained inside these containers, which is a huge worry when it has been linked to prostate cancer amongst other health concerns. Another group of chemicals found inside plastic bottles are phthalates. These are linked to a number of cancers and reproductive issues. Traces of phthalates leach into the water inside the bottles. They disrupt the endocrine system, by flooding our bodies with estrogenic compounds (which act similarly to the hormone oestrogen).
A study was conducted to test the effect of these man-made hormones on the New Zealand Mud Snail. Embryos of the snail were inserted into twenty brands of bottled water. Of those that were made of plastic and paperboard 78% demonstrated significant hormonal activity.
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