Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Hidden Facts on Bottled Water
The proliferation of the sales of bottled water over the past 20 years has been prolific. In 2007, 4 billion gallons of water in individual-portion bottles were consumed. A bottle of water costs more, per gallon, than gasoline.
Everybody assumes they are 'being healthy' when they drink bottled water. Well, maybe healthy when compared to drinking a bottle of Coca-cola, but what else are they doing by drinking water from bottles?
1. Creating a huge trash problem- Only one in five of these bottles ends up at a recycling center like this. The vast majority, some 38 billion last year alone, end up at landfills where scientists can only guess could take a thousand years for them to biodegrade.
2. Contributing to fossil fuel consumption and global warming- the price of a bottle of water goes for its bottling, packaging, shipping, marketing, retailing and profit. There is petroleum in plastic. Transporting bottled water by boat, truck and train involves burning massive quantities of fossil fuels. Just supplying Americans with plastic water bottles for one year consumes more than 47 million gallons of oil, enough to take 100,000 cars off the road and 1 billion pounds of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere.
3. Wasting Money- If you bought and drank a bottle of water that cost $1.35, you could refill that bottle once a day for 10 years, 5 months, and 21 days with tap water before that water would cost $1.35.
4. Putting unwanted estrogens into their body- Plastic bottles contain a compound called bisphenol A that can act as a synthetic estrogen. Drinking bottled water for years could thus theoretically lead to breast and endometrial cancer.
The good news? The mayor of San Francisco has banned the use of bottled water at any city-run affairs. Only tap water is served at these events. Other cities, such as Los Angeles, Phoenix, Chicago, Salt Lake City, Ann Arbor, and Seattle are following suit and banning bottled water.
My advice? Save some money, the environment, and your breasts and buy a good reusable bottle (e.g., Nalgene) and refill it with fresh tap or Brita filtered water. If you do want to see drink bottled water, at least make a concerted effort to recycle the bottles.