Bottled Water – a bigger enemy than you think

9 Mar

We’re continuing on with our water theme today and will be exploring several ins and outs of the bottled water industry…

First off, we’ve already shared a few Story of Stuff videos on this blog– but today we’d like to feature the Story of Stuff – Bottled Water

It is alarming how far corporations will go to convince us to spend more money on unnecessary things.  Check out this advertisement for Smartwater – pathetic attempt at convincing us to buy this product!  Can you believe that?

“Bottled water — it’s one of the most popular beverages on the planet, second in popularity in North America only to carbonated soft drinks, and consumption of it continues to grow rapidly in most countries.  The United States consumes the most bottled water on the planet (33.4 billion litres) while residents of the United Arab Emirates consume the most bottled water per capita (259.7 litres per person per year).

In Canada, bottled water consumption was estimated at 24.4 litres per person in 1999. By 2005, that had increased to about 60 litres per person, with sales worth $652.7 million.”
Read the full CBC news story.  Or check out this story from ABC news where you find out one of Aquafina’s sources is the Detroit river…

David Suzuki says, “Canadian wanting to do something about the environment can start by drinking tap water…  I think that we’ve got to drink the water that comes out of our taps, and if we don’t trust it, we ought to be raising hell about that…  Key environmental issues with bottled water, Suzuki said, are waste and uncertainty over the long-term health effects created by plastic.  Not only does bottled water lead to unbelievable pollution — with old bottles lying all over the place — but plastic has chemicals in it.  Plastics are ubiquitous. I don’t believe that plastics are not involved in a great deal of the health problems that we face today.”

Industry observers say advertising by bottled water companies gives consumers the impression their product is safer and healthier than tap water. Municipal water, however, is more stringently tested.  In Canada, local water supplies are inspected every day, whereas bottled-water plants are inspected at three-year intervals.

Two of the largest bottled water sellers (Coca-Cola and Pepsi) use municipal (tap) water, with fewer regulations, anyway….

Not only are the bottles piling up in landfills, floating in oceans by the masses and littering our streets – science has yet to prove that the water inside the over-priced bottle is any better for you than what comes out of your own tap.  In fact, it may be even worse?!

Here is a list of potential contaminants and their health affects from ehow:

Bottled water may appear safer to drink than tap water, however, contaminants and impurities can be found within bottled water. The United States Food and Drug Administration regulates the production of bottled water and determines what amount of contaminant is permissible. To determine the quality of your bottled water, contact the manufacturer and ask for the most recent testing reports.

Physical Contaminants

Physical contaminants can sometimes be found within bottled water even though it has been quality checked. Pieces of plastic, glass or industrial supplies may enter the water during the bottling process. If these contaminants are ingested, they can cause upset stomach and other health problems.

Chemical Contaminants

The World Health Organization states that chemical contaminants, such as lead, arsenic and benzene, may be present in bottled water. If chemical contaminants build up to high levels they can cause a range of health complications. Carcinogens, or chemicals that may cause cancer, can be found in bottled water. If carcinogens are frequently consumed through bottled water, they can build up in the human body and increase the risk of cancer.

Microbial Contaminants

Microbial contaminants are present naturally in water where it is sourced, either from the surface of the earth or from the ground. These microbes and bacteria may persist in bottled water even after it has been decontaminated. If bottled water is exposed to heat or has sat for a long time, the microbial colony can grow and overpopulate. In healthy consumers, bacteria found within bottled water may not have an impact or may cause slight stomach upset. For consumers with compromised immune systems, an excessive amount of microbes in bottled water can cause serious illness. The parasite Cryptosporidium is found in drinking water and can cause serious health issues for patients with compromised immune systems. Boiling bottled water kills microbial contaminants.


Phthalates are chemicals used in plastic production that are present in plastic water bottling. Water in plastic water bottles may contain phthalates that have been absorbed into the water from the surface of the plastic bottle. Phthalate concentration increases the longer a plastic water bottle is stored. The FDA does not regulate phthalate concentration in bottled water. Exposure to phthalates is linked to hormone disruption.

Read more from ehow.

Take some time out this week to do your own research.  One suggestion of where to start is to look up a documentary called “Tapped”.
Here’s the trailer:

Then take action – demand clean safe water for all in your community!


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