We all understand that consuming plenty of water is fundamental to our health. There is no substitute for water, but we should take it upon ourselves to determine the best source of the water we drink. Because of environmental mishaps, stories about unsafe water and the incessant marketing of bottled water as opposed to tap water, many people feel tap water is now unsafe, so they go in search of alternatives.
Both bottled and tap water originate as groundwater (an underground aquifer) or surface water from our rivers and lakes. Even though tap water is regulated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), people with particular health issues or concerns who opt for tap water, sometimes use filtration systems of some kind, while even more choose to purchase bottled water.
The principal demand for bottled water is right here in the United States. It is regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The Natural Resources Defense Council reports that bottled water can cost up to 10,000 times more per gallon than traditional tap water. So, why are we willing to pay two bucks a bottle for water that flows from the tap cost-free, and what are other healthy alternatives to drinking tap water?
Results of Lower Regulation of Bottled Water
Some studies claim that up to 40 percent of bottled water is nothing more than tap water that has been bottled. FoodAndWaterWatch.org reports that U.S. tap water is indeed subject to even more rigorous federal regulations than plastic bottled water. Local, State and Federal environmental agencies require painstaking testing on tap water and are required to make those test results available to consumers. In spite of the myriad of creative marketing propagandas, claiming bottled water purity and safety, FoodAndWater.org found a recent independent test of ten diverse bottled water brands found a whopping total of 38 contaminants!
But that’s not the end of the bad news on plastic bottles: They contain a chemical known as bisphenol A (BPA)—a man-made hormone disruptor linked to severe health issues, including the following:
Learning development problems
Lower immune system
Breast and prostate cancer
Premature puberty in females and males alike
It is for these reasons that Americans who conduct research on healthy alternatives to tap water find articles that describe congressional discussions on how to go about banning BPA in plastic containers.
Awareness of BPA is growing. In fact, several manufacturers of baby bottles—including Gerber and Playtex—have announced they will cease using BPA in the production of plastic baby bottles. Plastic may be handy and lightweight, but good old-fashioned glass is always best.
Bottled Water Also Hurts the Environment
In addition to the health menace posed by BPA, plastic water bottles are virtually destroying our planet. Plastic water bottles desecrate fossil fuels during the process of production and, within a year’s time, use the energy equal to approximately 54 million barrels of oil—enough to fuel 1.5 million vehicles over a year-long period.
And don’t assuage that guilt you are feeling by telling yourself those plastic bottles you toss are recycled. They aren’t. About 75 percent end up in our precious streams, oceans, lakes and landfills, where they will remain evermore since plastic does not decompose.
Marketers of water substitutes such as vitamin waters and coconut water want us to believe this is all we need in the form of water. However, these beverages, while they contain some nutritional value, are in no way a substitute for basic, fundamental and simple water, which all living things require to survive.
Can We Trust Tap Water?
So now we are back to tap water. How much can we trust it?
Today’s groundwater resources are vanishing in several parts of the United States. In many regions, groundwater levels are falling due to our pumping it through wells faster than the water can be naturally replaced by rains. This can create permanent damage to our precious aquifers’ ability to hold groundwater, and could indeed ripple out to the total freshwater supply we take for granted.
If you have worries about consuming tap water, it’s never a bad idea to filter your water using granular activated carbon filters. They have a porous exterior, trapping minuscule particles as well as larger organic molecules. Simple to install and economical, granular activated carbon is the most commonly used household drinking water filtration product. They drastically reduce odors and bad taste caused by chemicals gases (like chlorine and its by-products), while leaving natural minerals essential to health.
All things considered, it’s becoming the majority opinion that we are better off purchasing a reusable glass bottle and carbon filters—and trust the tap.
If you are concerned about the quality of your public tap water, consult with your local public water utility.
Do you trust the quality of your tap water? If not, how do you deal with it?