Clean, healthy water should be a human right. Sadly, many places around the world don’t have access to clean water. The Flint water crisis made people much more attentive to the type of water they are consuming. But many people still believe that drinking bottled water is healthy, especially compared to tap water. The truth is that bottled water brings its own set of problems, and in some cases, it can be even worse for our health.

Here are eight reasons why you should reconsider drinking bottled water.

1. Recycled Bottles

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In a recent study from Brunel University London, it was discovered that recycled Polyethylene (PET) leached higher levels of chemicals in drinks than new PET containers, according to The Guardian. This thermoplastic is the third most commonly used type of plastic to package food and is especially prevalent in bottled drinks.

According to the study, the more contaminants found in these bottles may be due to their degradation over time, in particular the raw materials used to create the plastic and labels. Some of these chemicals, such as BPA, are known to disrupt the endocrine system and even cause cancer and reproductive problems. 

2. BPA

BPA, or Bisphenol-A, is one of the chemicals used in the manufacturing of plastic water bottles. While there may not yet be a consensus on the harm this chemical can have on our health, it is believed to imitate estrogen in our bodies, which could potentially be detrimental. There isn’t much research when it comes to human studies, but animal studies have shown it to be toxic for animals, even at low doses.

BPA leaches out of food and drink containers and the chemical has been found in over 90% of the US population. One study showed that it affects the brain and reproductive system in males. Another showed it might lead to miscarriages for women.  

3. Microplastics

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In a study published in 2018 by Frontiers in Chemistry, it was discovered that bottled water from 11 major brands from all over the world contained over 300 particles per liter of microplastics, according to Time. Much of the plastic that is found in bottled water is polypropylene, which comes from bottle caps. This may indicate that process of actually bottling the water was the cause of the high concentration of plastic.

A recent study published in the Journal of Hazardous Materials analyzed various studies on microplastic’s effect on human health. It determined that they can cause cell death, among other things, from levels that aren’t uncommon for people to digest.  

4. Arsenic

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In 2020, Consumer Reports tested 45 brands of bottled water, most of which had no noticeable levels of arsenic. However, Starkey Spring Water, sold by Whole Foods, had levels of arsenic that reached almost ten parts per billion (ppb). According to Consumer Reports, the federal limit is ten ppb, but CR believes it should be 3ppb and even wrote the FDA a letter asking them to lower it. In 2016, Starkey Spring Water even had to issue a recall because tests done on their water in Florida reached almost 12 ppb. The WHO has stated that long-term exposure to arsenic can cause cancer, skin lesions, and diabetes, among other things. It has even been shown to decrease children’s IQ at levels above five ppb.  

5. Mold

In 2017, The FDA issued an alert to the public and then recalled Comforts FOR BABY Water with Fluoride because it was contaminated with mold. The scary thing is that it couldn’t be detected by looking at it and was only discovered after complaints from customers. Also, in 2006, a case study of a bottled water production facility discovered several different strains of mold in the water. According to the FDA, drinking mold-contaminated water can cause allergic reactions, asthma attacks, and irritation of the throat and lungs.  

6. E. coli

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According to Consumer Reports, a government report in 2018 discovered that Sweet Springs Valley Water Company had been bottling water from a source that contained the harmful contaminant. What’s even more frightening is that the company continued to bottle the water and didn’t conduct any subsequent tests on it.

In 2015, a bottling company that produces bottled water for several high-profile brands issued a recall after finding their spring water source contained E. coli. If you’re exposed to the bacteria, symptoms can include diarrhea, cramping, and nausea.  

7. PFAS

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According to the EPA, PFAS are chemicals that are commonly used and take a long time to break down. Some of the detrimental effects it can potentially have on people include cancer, obesity, and damage to the liver. Last year, in a study done by Johns Hopkins University, researchers found PFAs in almost 40% of the bottled water that was tested. Some of the waters had levels that were of concern for the researchers. Despite this, the Food and Drug Administration has yet to determine any set limits for this potentially harmful substance in bottled water. 

8. Tap Water Is Just As Safe, If Not Safer

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According to Business Insider, tap water is tested more often for its quality than bottled water. It was also discovered that almost half of the bottled water comes from the tap, and most people can’t even tell the difference in terms of taste. If, however, you live in a rural area and get your water from a well that is not regulated, it could contain metals such as arsenic and uranium. If you want to find out about the quality of tap water in your area, click here.   

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