Many people who regularly drink bottled water do so because they believe that it’s safer and is of better quality than tap water.
And most bottled water companies feed into the myth, adorning their labels with images of lakes and mountains, hinting that their water originates from naturals springs or glaciers.
In reality, most bottled water is no different than tap water.
The Case Of Aquafina
Aquafina’s label, featuring mountains, led the public to believe that it was sourced directly from nature. However, Aquafina, like Dasani and Pure Life’s products are actually just glorified tap water (1).
In fact, labels now legally have to read: “public water source.”
The water used in these products is said to go through a seven-step process, stripping it of minerals and other contents commonly found in municipal water supply (2).
So Why Hide These Facts?
Quite frankly, there’s a big demand for bottled water. Over half of all Americans drink bottled water, and about 36% drink it more than once a week (3).
Since soda sales have been steadily decreasing in the last decade, large companies like Coca-Cola jumped onto health trends by acquiring bottled water.
These companies capitalize the fact that tap water is often perceived as being undrinkable. And so, consumers like to think that their water comes from pure, natural sources.
Bottled water is a 13 billion dollar a year industry in the United States (4). It’s also much more profitable to produce than soda simply because water is so inexpensive.
Soda and other popular drinks require multiple ingredients and processes. When it comes to water, all you need to do is filter it.
Lower Quality Than Tap Water
In most cities, public water supplies have to undergo frequent testing and harsh quality practices.
In Canada, the City of Ottawa, for example, conducts more than 125,000 water quality tests a year. Toronto tests water samples every four to six hours and checks for more than 300 potential chemical contaminants (5).
However, in Canada, bottled water is not subject to the same guidelines because it is classified as a food and falls under the Food and Drugs Act.
It has specific limits on contaminants such as arsenic, lead and coliform bacteria but there are no specific regulations for other contaminants (5).
The situation in the United States is just as unregulated : “Bottled water manufacturers are not required to disclose as much information as municipal water utilities because of gaps in federal oversight authority…
Bottom line: The Food and Drug Administration oversees bottled water, U.S. EPA is in charge of tap water and FDA lacks the regulatory authority of EPA…” (6)
While city water testing is made available to the public, bottled water quality is “essentially voluntary and internally regulated,” with little to no information available publicly (5).
In fact, the Center for Disease Control acknowledges that : “although bottled water outbreaks are not often reported, they do occur.” (7)
These contaminant include but are not limited to bacterial or chemical contaminants, including carcinogens (8).
Harmful Packaging Leeches Into Water
Regular contaminants don’t just come from the processing plant, some are hidden in the plastic bottles.
Fox News reported that a study by German researchers found nearly 25,000 chemicals lurking in a single bottle of water (9).
The chemicals included endocrine disruptors such as maleates and fumarates.
Harmful side-effects from prolonged exposure include (9) :
- Stunted growth
- Early puberty
- Premature birth
- Early menopause
- Heart disease
Some bottles still contain BPA which is known to cause low sperm count, hormonal changes, enlarged prostate glands, abnormalities in the number of chromosomes in eggs, pre-cancerous changes in the breast and prostate, obesity and insulin resistance (10).
And that’s not all, some of the bottled water also contain other endocrine disruptors such as estrogenic, antiestrogenic, and antiandrogenic, as well as androgenic, progestagenic, and glucocorticoid-like chemicals (11).
To put it simply, water bottle expose you to a cocktail of hormone-disrupting chemicals with very serious side effects.
Instead, carry around a stainless-steel or glass water bottle and filter your tap water at home. It’ll save your health and save you money in the long-run.