The Hidden Dangers of Plastic Water Bottles
Many places around the world do not have access to clean, safe, and treated drinking water. Here in America, we have the privilege in most places to be able to have safe options for water every single day. Still, more and more people continue to only drink from plastic bottled water claiming health benefits and better “taste” or convenience. This is just another example of first world countries being main culprits of huge worldwide environmental issues that negatively affect those who need help. I am calling on all of you Cut The Crap! readers to share this information with your loved ones or friends who may be set in their consumption ways. If you have the choice between clean tap water and bottled water, I urge you to stay conscious of your decision and the impact it has.
If the fact that more than 100 million plastic water bottles are used every day, while only 1 in 5 bottles is recycled doesn’t shock you (or whoever you are trying to convince), here are a whole bunch of other reasons to boycott and quit drinking plastic water bottles:
An estimated 1,500 plastic bottles end up as waste in landfills or thrown in the ocean every second and 1 in 5 Americans ONLY drink bottled water. Plastic water bottles take at least 450-1000 years to decompose, and once they reach our waterways it is almost impossible to remove them or mitigate the harm.
Bottled water companies can legally label their water with false sources. According to the EPA:
“Spring water” can be collected at the point where water flows naturally to the earth’s surface or from a borehole that taps into the underground source (so the same place many get their municipal water from). “Glacier water” or “Mountain water,”are not regulated standards of identity and are used for marketing and public appeal
"Purified,” simply refers to processes that remove chemicals and pathogens. Words like “purified” or “drinking water” lead us to believe that bottled water was filled at an oasis, but it’s actually code for tap. About 48% of bottled water comes from the tap, then is sold at 10,000 times the price of tap water.
Tap water has to meet all kinds of standards thanks to the Safe Drinking Water Act, but bottled water does not have to adhere to the same regulations. Neither EPA nor FDA certify bottled water, which allows for companies to determine safe levels of toxins, chemicals, and microbes that can be present.
Harmful toxins in your water would be tasteless, so any “funny” taste in your tap water is usually not harmful and can be removed with affordable filter attachments
Plastic water bottles continue to be studied and show that they leach microplastics, and that many disposable water bottles still have BPA’s.
A study conducted by the State University of New York in Fredonia tested 259 bottles from 11 brands, including Aquafina, Evian, Dasani, Nestle Pure Life and San Pelligrino, purchased from 19 locations in nine countries. Ninety-three percent of the bottles showed “some sign” of microplastic contamination, with an average of 10 plastic particles per liter of water larger than .1 millimeter and an average of 325 plastic particles per liter of tinier pieces.
When you ingest even small amounts of BPA’s, they mimic estrogen, which can change the way your endocrine system functions and in humans, exposure has been linked to diabetes, asthma, and cancer.
Oil from the production and transportation of bottled water is 32-54 million barrels. This could fill 1.5 million cars per year!
NPR estimates that it could take six to seven bottles worth of water to even make the container. Instead, you could just pour yourself a glass from the tap.
Purdue conducted a social study, where they found that there was a widespread belief among plastic water bottle consumers that recycling the bottles completely eliminates the environmental impact of their choice. While recycling is the best way to dispose of plastic, most plastic doesn’t get recycled more than once if it even makes it to that step.
Both reusable and disposable plastic bottles break down from regular use, causing tiny cracks that can harbor bacteria. These cracks can form by simply squeezing the bottle too hard, or handling the package too roughly.
Overall, using your voice to spread information is an incredibly powerful tool. Next time your friend is drinking from a plastic water bottle, try striking up a conversation to see if they know anything about the production or regulations of that water. It can be intimidating to talk about, but when you are armed with easy to comprehend and proven facts, it is so much easier and you are helping your loved ones and the Earth all at once. Even just sharing this article could get one person on your social media platform to think differently next time they have the option.
It’s time we eliminate plastic water bottles for good and Cut The Crap!
Here is a link to our Inform Yourself page where there are some film resources on plastics!
Here is a link to learn more about protecting the water in your neighborhood by contributing 10 minutes a month!