Health concern of Bottled water


Health concern of Bottled water

Eng. Ayman Q. Al-Refai

Specialist of Food safety & Quality Management

04.04.2010

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>>>The realization that bottled water is higher quality than tap water has caused a major shift in public opinion. In 2011, the market of bottled water is forecast to have a value of (86,421.2 million $), an increase of 41.8% since 2006. Also, it is forecast to have a volume of (174,286.6 million liters), an increase of 51% since 2006 (2).

>>>Consumers typically buy bottled water under the misconception that it is safer, purer or healthier than tap water. Bottled water companies have spent billions to manipulate consumers into believing that bottled water is safer or healthier than tap water.

–  Is bottled water really better quality than tap?

>>>Not exactly, “No one should assume that just because he or she purchases water in a bottle that it is necessarily any better regulated, purer, or safer than most tap water”, NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) said, after he has completed a four-year study of the bottled water industry, including its bacterial and chemical contamination problems(5).

>>>Actually, People should be more concerned about the quality of the water they are drinking rather than the container it’s coming from. Hundreds of recent reports reveal that bottled water quality is grossly overrated. Virtually every independent study on bottled water shows contamination from bacteria and/or synthetic chemicals.”It is impossible to get chemical-free water from a plastic bottle or from the tap”, Charles Strand, author of the book “All about Water” and Editor of WaterWarning.com.

>>>In NRDC’s study, they tested more than 1,000 bottles of 103 brands of water by three independent labs; they found that most bottled water tested was of good quality, but some brand’s quality was spotty. About one third of the tested bottled waters contained significant contamination {i.e., levels of chemical (arsenic, toluene, phthalate, styrene) or bacterial (Cryptosporidium, Coliform) contaminants exceeding those allowed under industry standard or guideline} in at least one test (5).

>>>After all these facts, many people do not feel comfortable drinking tap water, so they buy bottled water instead, because they think that it is more trusted. The truth is that city water is much more highly regulated and monitored for quality. Bottled water is not. It can legally contain many things we would not tolerate in municipal drinking water (3). Also, some of marketing is misleading, implying the water comes from pristine sources when it does not. According to U.S government and industry estimates, about one fourth of bottled water is bottled tap water sometimes with additional treatment, sometimes not. For example, one brand whose label pictured a lake and mountains actually came from a well in an industrial facility’s parking lot, near a hazardous waste dump, and periodically was contaminated with industrial chemicals at levels above FDA standards.

-Are plastics of Water bottles a potential concern?

A study, conducted by the Goethe University at Frankfurt, found that a high percentage of the bottled water, contained in plastic containers were polluted with estrogenic chemicals. Although some of the bottled water contained in glass were found polluted with chemicals as well, the researchers believe some of the contamination in the plastic containers may have come from the plastic containers themselves. So, the facts are clear: All plastic bottles leach synthetic chemicals into water, some more than others.

Every bottle of water has a recycling symbol on bottom, which refer to how many times you can use it, and what the material it made from {#2 HDPE (high density polyethylene), #4 is LDPE (low density polyethylene), #5 PP (polypropylene)}, The type of plastic bottle in which water is usually sold with a #1, and is only recommended for one time use. Ordinary, this single-use water bottle made from BPA-free plastic, but some reusable containers are made from plastic containing BPA (Bisphenol A). Unfortunately, Even the popular refillable polycarbonate water bottles which identified by the #7 recycling symbol, may leach BPA into the water.

Bisphenol A is a xenoestrogen, a known endocrine disruptor, meaning it disturbs the hormonal messaging in our bodies. Synthetic xenoestrogens are linked to breast cancer and uterine cancer in women, decreased testosterone levels in men, and are particularly devastating to babies and young children. BPA has even been linked to insulin resistance and Type 2 Diabetes.

Also, there is another group of chemicals, called phthalates. Phthalates are sometimes added to plastics to make them flexible and less brittle, Phthalates are environmental contaminants that can exhibit hormone-like behavior by acting as endocrine disruptors in humans and animals. If you heat up plastics, you could increase the leaching of phthalates from the containers into water, so, it seemed how much it is dangerous to expose the bottle of water to heat (direct sun, engine heat ..) during disruption and storage.

The hoax of Dioxins

Since 2004, The Internet has been flooded with e-mails warning to avoid freezing water in plastic bottles so as not to get exposed to carcinogenic dioxins. These messages have been attributed to Johns Hopkins University, frequently titled “Johns Hopkins Cancer News” or “Johns Hopkins Cancer Update,”

In fairness, Johns Hopkins University announce that all these massages are falsely attributed to Johns Hopkins and they do not endorse their content, and Freezing water does not cause the release of chemicals from plastic bottles, freezing actually works against the release of chemicals. Chemicals do not diffuse as readily in cold temperatures, which would limit chemical release if there were dioxins in plastic, and we don’t think there are.

Environmental concern

Consumers should also consider the environment when purchasing bottled water, because we are a part of the environment, and the environmental health is a part of the public health which effect on ours.

There are 200 billion bottles of water (equal 1.5 million tones of plastic waste) consumed per annum globally (2), And according to Food and Water Watch, that plastic requires up to 47 million gallons of oil to produce. Also, it takes additional energy and resources to transport bottled water and ship it, which means a massive amount of greenhouse gases are produced from manufacturing the plastic bottles, And more, According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, about 20 percent of disposable plastic water bottles are recycled and over 80 percent of plastic bottles are simply thrown away to pollute the nature. So you may imagine how much this industry harms us. Thus it is probably wiser, environmentally, to drink water from the tap, from reusable containers. 22nd of march, World Water Day, established by the United Nations over 15 years ago to focus attention on the obvious need – and problems – of getting clean water to people. In the U.S. the advocacy group Corporate Accountability International is using the day to tell people to stop buying bottled water.

Therefore, there is no logical explanation for regular bottled water use: It costs more (People spend from 240 to over 10,000 times more per gallon for bottled water than they typically do for tap water) (2), offers less and pollutes our planet; Home water filtration is the most logical, most economical, most convenient and healthiest alternative to tap or bottled water. With home water filtration you can pick the degree of purity you want and have complete control over it. Considering the extreme importance of healthy, chemical free water, a quality home water filter may be the most valuable home appliance you can own.

Resources:

1-    http://www.bottledwaterblues.com/

2-    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bottled_water

3-    http://www.jhsph.edu/publichealthnews/articles/halden_dioxins2.html

4-    http://www.jhsph.edu/dioxins

5-    http://www.nrdc.org/water/drinking/bw/bwinx.asp

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