By Dr. Mercola
This Common Beverage Can Spike Brain Damage, Obesity, and Cancer Risk
Tapped is a film that examines the role of the bottled water industry and its effects on health, climate change, pollution, and reliance on oil.
Anytime you drink bottled water, not only are you putting your health at risk, you’re also contributing to one of the most massive environmental waste nightmares of all time. There is a simple, safe, green solution.
The next time someone offers you a bottle of water, take a stand and say something clever like, “No thank you, I don’t believe in it.” This simple move will open up a conversation about the massive swindle that is bottled water … and possibly persuade one more person to give it up entirely.
Please also make a point to see this fantastic new movie, Tapped, which is playing in select theaters in the United States and is available on DVD.
Even beyond the issues of your health and the environment, bottled water represents a novel form of privatization, in which private corporations have succeeded, and quite successfully I might add, at making water a commodity.
I would say, and I suspect you would agree, that water is more a “right” than it is a commodity. And private corporations should have no more control over the selling of water than they do the selling of our air supplies. Well, this is already occurring to some extent as corporations make a profit selling water — which at times even makes water less available to the people living in the area.
Even public water supplies are being increasingly taken over by private corporations, and in some areas of the world are up for grabs by the highest bidder.
This has been publicized in countries such as Bolivia, where residents battled police and the military to protect their water rights from the US-based Bechtel Corporation, but you should know water privatization initiatives are being pushed all over the world … including in the United States.
If you’re interested in learning more, an excellent, eye-opening film on this topic that I highly recommend is Thirst.
Getting back to bottled water, however, many, many Americans still drink it, believing it is somehow healthier than tap water. Well, this is easily one of the biggest swindles out there.
In 2008, U.S. bottled water consumption reached nearly 9 billion gallons, raking in revenues of more than $11 billion.
Folks, this is for a “product” you can get virtually for free by turning on your kitchen tap!
Are You Paying 1,900 Times More for Unhealthy, Earth-Damaging Water?
If you drink bottled water, yes, you are!
Bottled water typically costs more than $1.50 per bottle, which is 1,900 times the price of tap water.
Yet, that very same bottled water that you’re paying a premium for is, in about 40 percent of cases, simply bottled tap water, which may or may not have received any additional treatment.
On top of that, most municipal tap water must actually adhere to more strict purity standards than the bottled water industry. Further, while the EPA requires large public water supplies to test for contaminants as often as several times a day, the FDA requires private bottlers to test for contaminants only once a week, once a year, or once every four years, depending on the contaminant.
An independent test performed by the Environmental Working Group revealed 38 low-level contaminants in bottled water, with each of the 10 tested brands containing an average of eight chemicals including disinfection byproducts (DBPs), caffeine, Tylenol, nitrate, industrial chemicals, arsenic, and bacteria were all detected.
So what you are paying for is often no different, or worse, than the water that comes out of your faucet.
When you factor in other elements, like the chemicals that can leach from the plastic bottle and its impact on the environment, bottled water becomes a losing proposition no matter how you look at it.
Drinking From Plastic Bottles is Not a Wise Health Move
When drinking bottled water you need to think not only about the water but also about the bottle itself. Plastic is not an inert substance as its manufacturers would like you to believe. It contains chemicals like BPA and phthalates, which mimic hormones in your body.
Even tiny concentrations can cause problems such as:
- Structural damage to your brain
- Hyperactivity, increased aggressiveness, and impaired learning
- Increased fat formation and risk of obesity
- Altered immune function
- Early puberty, stimulation of mammary gland development, disrupted reproductive cycles, and ovarian dysfunction
- Changes in gender-specific behavior, and abnormal sexual behavior
- Stimulation of prostate cancer cells
- Increased prostate size, and decreased sperm production
Anytime you drink from a plastic bottle you risk exposure, but if you leave your bottle of water in a hot car or reuse it, your exposure is magnified because heat and stress increase the amount of chemicals that leach out of the plastic.
About 1.5 million tons of plastic are used to manufacture water bottles each year around the world, and the processing itself releases toxic compounds like nickel, ethylbenzene, ethylene oxide and benzene. Further, according to the Sierra Club, the U.S. alone uses 1.5 million barrels of oils to make plastic water bottles, the majority of which then end up in landfills.
In fact, 1,500 water bottles are thrown away every second!
This massive waste is one reason why there is now a plastic “stew” twice the size of Texas swirling through the Pacific Ocean.
Also extremely harmful to the environment is the way corporations are pumping water from underground aquifers. These natural springs serve as water sources for nearby streams, wells and farms, but the aggressive pumping can easily dry them out prematurely.
A Simple Solution is at Your Disposal
One you realize that bottled water is:
- No safer than tap water
- Extremely expensive
- Often contaminated by plastics chemicals
- Contributing to massive environmental harm
… the choice to stop using it becomes simple. Fortunately, the alternative to having pure water is also simple: use a reverse osmosis filter.