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Monday, August 21, 2017

Tapped or Bottled?

Drinking water is an essential of health.  Our bodies are made of about 70% water and nearly every one of the millions of chemical reactions that occur in the body happens in a water medium.  The fact is, we need water, but there is a great deal of controversy over the right source.  Ideally, we should be getting much of our water from food in the form of raw fruits and vegetables.  Since most don’t do this routinely, we need a regular source of healthy water.  As a result, the world consumes about 26 billion units of bottled water every year.  This is a healthy thing, right?

There are several things we need to know about bottled water.  First, is that much of the bottled stuff is actually tap water that has never seen a mountain stream.  This may not be a bad thing because the EPA requires municipal water sources to be tested for contaminants several times per day whereas the FDA requires bottlers to test as little as once per week or even every four years.  Just realize that what you’re paying for may not be any different than what you can drink for free.  The biggest concern I have regarding bottled water comes from the bottles themselves.  The grade of plastic used can leach chemicals into the water that resemble a digestible protein that the body will absorb.  This problem is accelerated when the bottle has been exposed to high heat or sunlight (on a truck or loading dock, or in your car).  These chemicals can cause hyperactivity, obesity, hormone and prostate problems and have been directly linked to breast and other cancers.  Lastly, the plastic itself is an environmental disaster.  The U.S. uses 1.5 billion gallons of oil every year to produce the bottles that are thrown away at a rate of 1500 units every second.  These discarded bottles are filling our landfills and polluting our oceans and rivers.  What’s the solution?

I recommend getting a filter for your tap water at home – reverse osmosis is best, but a simple carbon filter will suffice.  When you’re on the go, think ahead and fill up reusable stainless steel or glass bottles.  If you’re filling plastic bottles, check the bottom of the bottle and try to use plastic that has a recycle number of ‘5’ or greater.  These don’t break down as easily.  I don’t want this bad news to discourage you from drinking water!  Just plan ahead and you’ll be making a healthy choice for you and your family.

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