21 Mar Bottled Water’s Invisible Price Tag
Not all water is manufactured equally and I absolutely mean manufactured because over the past decades water has turned into a very profitable business — $4 billion strong. The fabulous business of bottled water grows steadily and abundantly as the average American consumes more bottled water than milk or beer — which you would think is a good thing. But is it?
The rise of bottled water dates back hundreds of years to spas in Europe where mineral water was the choice du jour because of its supposed health benefits. Later in areas where local tap water was generally accepted as unsuitable for drinking, drinking bottled water was considered necessary — which led to the creation of an international niche business.
Today the recommended eight glasses of water a day, when taken from a United States water tap costs about $.49 per year. The same amount of bottled water costs about $1,400.
So is spending a thousand times more for bottle water compared to tap water really worth it? Consider the following eight hidden costs of bottled water for both the planet and your health:
1. It takes 3-5 times MORE water to make a plastic bottle than it takes to fill it with water.
2. Making water bottles doesn’t just use up precious water, it also requires resources such as petroleum and electricity. Some estimates point to around 17 million barrels of oil are used to make plastic water bottles a year, which is enough to run 1.3 million cars and enough electrical energy to power 190,000 homes. Worse yet, manufacturing releases an estimated 2.5 million tons of CO2 into the atmosphere in the process.
3. A study carried out by the Natural Resource Defense Council (NRDC) found that 1/4 of all the water brands sold were contaminated at levels violating strict enforceable limits.
4. When used multiple times PET water bottles can leech out toxic chemical compounds that build up in the human body. The University of Goethe in Frankfurt, Germany study found up to 24,520 suspect chemicals in bottle water. Crazy!
5. In 2009, nearly 50% of all water bottled came from public water sources AKA tap water. Yes, they sold you water you could have gotten for free. Some of this water might have been treated but no clear details are known.
6. In the United States alone, we use around 5 BILLION water bottles per year. Have you thought about where they all go?
7. Studies estimate as high as 80% of the 5 billion bottles are used one time and are not recycled, ending up in landfills or, worse yet, our oceans and rivers.
8. A 2014 University of Connecticut study revealed that approximately 12% of the 5 trillion plastic pieces littering the ocean are plastic water bottles. These plastics take decades to break down, and depending on how they are broken down they can release toxic chemicals into their immediate environment.
- F. FALCONE-DIAS, I. VAZ-MOREIRA AND C. M. MANAIA, BOTTLED MINERAL WATER AS A POTENTIAL SOURCE OF ANTIBIOTIC RESISTANT BACTERIA, WATER RES. 46 (2012) 3612-362
ANTIMONY LEACHING FROM POLYETHYLENE TEREPHTHALATE (PET) PLASTIC USED FOR BOTTLED DRINKING WATER
WATER RES. 2008 FEB;42(3):551-6. EPUB 2007 AUG 6.
MARTIN WAGNER, , JÖRG OEHLMANN
- ENDOCRINE DISRUPTORS IN BOTTLED MINERAL WATER: ESTROGENIC ACTIVITY IN THE E SCREEN
- THE JOURNAL OF STEROID BIOCHEMISTRY AND MOLECULAR BIOLOGY VOLUME 127, ISSUES
- 1–2, OCTOBER 2011, PAGES 128–135 DOI:10.1016/J.JSBMB.2010.10.007
SAX, L. (2010). POLYETHYLENE TEREPHTHALATE MAY YIELD ENDOCRINE DISRUPTORS. ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH PERSPECTIVES, 118(4), 445–448. DOI:10.1289/EHP.0901253
BOTTLED WATER: UNDERSTANDING A SOCIAL PHENOMENON
AMBIO: A JOURNAL OF THE HUMAN ENVIRONMENT 30(2):118-119. 2001DOI: HTTP://DX.DOI.ORG/10.1579/0044-7447-30.2.118
“COMMERCIALLY BOTTLED WATER” . CENTER FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION. RETRIEVED 6 OCTOBER 2014.
HOBSON, WENDY L., ET AL. “BOTTLED, FILTERED, AND TAP WATER USE IN LATINO AND NON-LATINO CHILDREN.” ARCHIVES OF PEDIATRICS & ADOLESCENT MEDICINE 161.5 (2007): 457-461.
BOTTLED WATER : PURE DRINK OR PURE HYPE?. BY ERIK D. OLSON. APRIL 1999.
- WAGNER M, SCHLÜSENER MP, TERNES TA, OEHLMANN J (2013)
- IDENTIFICATION OF PUTATIVE STEROID RECEPTOR ANTAGONISTS IN BOTTLED
- WATER: COMBINING BIOASSAYS AND HIGH-RESOLUTION MASS SPECTROMETRY.
- PLOS ONE 8(8): E72472. DOI:10.1371/JOURNAL.PONE.0072472
ERIKSEN M, LEBRETON LCM, CARSON HS, THIEL M, MOORE CJ, ET AL. (2014) PLASTIC POLLUTION IN THE WORLD’S OCEANS: MORE THAN 5 TRILLION PLASTIC PIECES WEIGHING OVER 250,000 TONS AFLOAT AT SEA. PLOS ONE 9(12): E111913. DOI:10.1371/JOURNAL.PONE.0111913
SABRINA G. S. A. ROTHAUSEN AND DECLAN CONWAY
GREENHOUSE-GAS EMISSIONS FROM ENERGY USE IN THE
NATURE CLIMATE CHANGE PUBLISHED ONLINE: 26 JUNE 2011 | DOI: 10.1038/NCLIMATE1147
FLORENTINA ANCA CALIMAN, MARIA GAVRILESCU
PHARMACEUTICALS, PERSONAL CARE PRODUCTS AND
ENDOCRINE DISRUPTING AGENTS IN THE ENVIRONMENT –
CLEAN 2009, 37 (4 – 5), 277 – 303
BARRETT, J. R. (2009). ENDOCRINE DISRUPTORS: ESTROGENS IN A BOTTLE? ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH PERSPECTIVES, 117(6), A241.
MIGRATION OF VOLATILE DEGRADATION PRODUCTS INTO OZONATED WATER FROM PLASTIC PACKAGING MATERIALS.
FOOD ADDIT CONTAM. 2003 OCT;20(10):985-94.
PLASTICS IN THE OCEAN AFFECTING HUMAN HEALTH
HAYDEN K. WEBB, JAIMYS ARNOTT, RUSSELL J. CRAWFORD AND ELENA P. IVANOVA
PLASTIC DEGRADATION AND ITS ENVIRONMENTAL IMPLICATIONS WITH SPECIAL REFERENCE TO POLY(ETHYLENE TEREPHTHALATE)
POLYMERS 2013, 5, 1-18; DOI:10.3390/POLYM5010001
NATURAL RESOURCE DEFENSE COUNCIL
BOTTLED WATER, PURE WATER OR PURE HYPE? REPORT