Humans consumed just under 40 gallons of bottled water on average in 2016 and the bottled water industry (which includes seltzer water) overtook the soda industry (excluding sports drinks) as the Number 1 drink sold in America for the first time ever, according to the Beverage Marketing Corporation. While the shift away from sugary, syrupy sodas signifies healthy and smarter decision making, the move toward bottled water consumption poses additional health and environmental concerns.
Human beings need water to survive as our bodies can be made of up to 70% water. We lose water all the time through sweating, urinating, breathing, and internal bodily processes that use water. It’s important to always replenish your body with water to stay hydrated and keep your body energized.
Drinking water has become a health craze – a solution for everything from losing weight to clearing bad skin. And it’s no sham. Human bodies are made up of more than half water. Water flushes out toxins and provides necessary energy for your body to move throughout the day. There are many health and body benefits to eliminating or reducing sugary or processed drinks from your diet and mainly drinking water.
1. Costs Less
2. Improves Skin Clarity and Complexion
3. Provides Energy
4. Promotes Weight Loss
5. Flushes Toxins
6. Regulates Body Temperature
7. Maintains Bodily Fluids Balance
8. Assists Digestion
9. Keeps Muscles Hydrated
10. Prevents Sickeness
So what do you drink water from?
Drinking Water Benefits
Drinking Water for Weight Loss – A Harvard research study that concluded participants who drank more water compared to other drinks, consumed fewer calories, and less sugar, fat, and cholesterol. The participants who on average drank more water compared to their counter parts lost more weight.
CDC Water Basic Information – Basic information and resources for consuming water as a health benefit. A summary of different environments and scenarios where you should be drinking plenty of water to stay hydrated.
NYC Drinking Water Benefits – The importance of drinking water and making smart decisions regarding other drinks such as milk, juice, coffee, and sports drinks.
Fracking’s Effects on Groundwater Pollution – Examination and study of how fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, is responsible for polluting groundwater and water wells in the United States.
People drink water either tap, filtered, or bottled. Tap water is public drinking water that can be obtained from your kitchen sink or a park water fountain. The public water in America is not only easily accessible, but it’s highly regulated to ensure cleanliness and quality by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Some people like to take tap water a little bit further and put it through a filtration system to remove contaminants such as bacteria. They can use a variety of filtration systems including UV-filtration systems or household water filters like the popular Brita. Lastly we have bottled water, which is water in plastic bottles that is filled and packaged by a company. Several companies that bottle water simply use public tap water or filtered public tap water to fill their bottles.
Bottled water may surprise you when you hear the facts. It’s the most expensive when you compare it to free tap water and even when you compare its cost to the cost of a water filter. It’s also the least regulated and least clean, as bottled water companies aren’t scrutinized as much as the United States’ public water system. And it’s the worst for the environment since approximately 50 billion water bottles are thrown away each year in America.
Tap, Filtered, and Bottled Water
Do Something Organization Tap Water Facts – The organization Do Something with motto “a global movement for good” highlights 11 important facts about public drinking water. Their facts are informative, interesting and somewhat whimsical.
National Geographic Article on Water – National Geographic goes into depth on tap water vs. bottled water supports their title of “why tap water is better than bottled water”. The article sheds light on the environmental, financial, and health costs of bottled water, and how some countries and cities are taking action to reduce bottled water usage.
Cornell University Tap vs. Bottled Water Comparison – The article from Cornell University objectively compares and contrasts the differences between tap and bottled water, discussing water sources, regulation and testing, disinfection, and environmental issues.
Government Accountability Office Tap vs. Bottled Water Report – Report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) that pinpoints differences in the way the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulates tap water vs. the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates bottled water. The report reveals that the EPA has more stringent testing standards than the FDA, specifying that bottled water companies do not need to use certified laboratories for water testing and they don’t have to report violations if they’re found.
There’s a better solution that we’re all aware of: reusable water bottles. There are so many options for material, color, size and features and there are new bottled water trends emerging every day.
Reusable water bottles are a big industry in developed countries since they provide many benefits over plastic water bottles in addition to their ability to be used over and over. Materials such as stainless steel insulate liquids inside the bottle very well. That means drinks with ice will stay colder, longer, on hot days, and hot drinks will stay hot, longer, on cold days.
New functions also include reusable water bottles that contain filters in the mouth piece. Therefore you can fill the water bottle with tap water from a sink, and it will filter it as you drink. One downside to this mouth-piece filter is the water dispensing is slower than if the water was flowing freely.
Brita Filtered Water Bottles – Brita is universally known for its filtered water dispensers, and one of their newer products is a filtered water bottle that you can take on the go.
Another function is the ability to add fruit, vegetables, or other “tastes” into a section of the water bottle so that it diffuses into the taste of the water. An important aspect of this function is the separation of fruit/vegetable to water. It would be easy to place berries into our water bottle, but they would rise to the top and make it hard to drink water without getting large chunks or full berries in your mouth. The separation allows the water to be infused with the flavor, but not let it interfere with the water drinking.
Pinterest Water Bottle Infusers – The water bottle infuser industry has grown dramatically in the past few years. Pinterest showcases the latest product designs as well as different recipes and combinations of items to put into the your water bottle diffuser.
Many plastic water bottles contain a chemical known as bisphenol-a (BPA), which was originally added to plastic products to increase their durability and density. Unfortunately, BPA can leak out of plastic product materials and into liquids or foods that are contained in them. The high toxicity of BPA has been found in several studies and experiment, and linked to health issues and cancer. Luckily, many manufacturers have stopped using BPA and that even includes some bottled water companies. Always check the labels of plastic products to see if it’s BPA-free.
Mayo Clinic BPA Facts – The Mayo Clinic provides some basic information about BPA, where it can be found, what it’s used for, and how to reduce your exposure.
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences – The NIH provides an analysis of bisphenol-a (BPA) and its potential dangerous health effects.
Harvard School of Public Health BPA Article – The Harvard School of Public Health discusses a study they conducted that shows how participants in the study who drank from BPA bottles, demonstrated a two-thirds increase in BPA in their urine. Babies may face a higher risk since bottles are generally heated before feeding babies and this might increase BPA leaching.
Bottled water remains the third largest beverage industry in America, just behind beer and soda. However, it’s no surprise that more better alternatives are being developed each and every day since there are so many cons associated with bottled water. Should you eliminate bottled water completely? Of course not. There will be situations when it’s good to have bottled water. You should always keep bottled water in your home and car for emergencies. In addition, bottled water is important in developing nations, where tap water is not sanitary and bottled water is preferred. However in the United States, it’s important that all citizens understand the pros and cons of bottled water vs. tap water. We have one of the cleanest, most regulated public water systems in the world, and many people don’t take advantage of this to save money, live cleaner, and help the environment. With more knowledge, we can all make a difference.
New York State’s Water Regulations – An interesting look at different elements, chemicals, and minerals found in public drinking water and the maximum allowed amount.
https://www.epa.gov/ground-water-and-drinking-water – Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Ground Water and Drinking Water Homepage
https://www.fda.gov/food/resourcesforyou/consumers/ucm046894.htm – Food and Drug Adminstration (FDA) page about the regulation and safety of bottled water.
http://www.who.int/topics/drinking_water/en/ – World Health Organization (WHO) resources and guides about drinking water, quality, treatment, storage, and sources.