From: Llowell Williams, Care2, More from this Affiliate
Published August 16, 2016 07:20 AM

Americans are buying more bottled water than soda

This year is on track to see Americans’ consumption of bottled water outpace their soda drinking for the very first time. According to Euromonitor, a market research firm, the average American will buy 27.4 gallons of bottled water, compared to 26.2 gallons of soda drinks.

Is this a good thing? It’s hard to argue that less consumption of sugary products is a bad thing. However, Americans aren’t necessarily replacing soda with water — for the most part, they are simply buying more bottled water.

Why are Americans drinking more bottled water then? Market researches aren’t sure, though they suggest it is likely a combination of Americans seeking to make healthier decisions and, potentially, a growing concern about tap water’s dangers, an issue highlighted by the revelation of the widespread lead contamination in Flint, Mich.

But is bottled water really a healthier and safer alternative to drinking tap water from municipal water systems? Almost certainly not.

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Despite being hundreds, if not thousands, of times more expensive than water from the tap, bottled water is not demonstrably superior in any category — aside from convenience (though even that is debatable).

Why? In part, the way water is bottled makes it a riskier choice. Not only are all plastic bottles used not necessarily free of BPA — a chemical identified for its carcinogenic effects — they can promote the growth of bacteria. As bottled water does not always contain disinfecting agents as tap water does, there is a greater risk of contamination — especially if the bottles sit on the shelf for long periods.

Many of these bottles are also made of PET plastic, which can leech antimony, a chemical element that, when ingested in small amounts, can cause dizziness and potentially even depression.

What’s more, bottled water is not nearly as regulated as tap water. Bottled water falls under the authority of the Federal Drug Administration, who do not require bottlers to disclose such things as the water’s source and whether any purification or filtration has been performed; contamination tests are also not mandatory.

Public tap water services, however, are subject to Environmental Protection Agency regulations which are undeniably much more stringent, as contamination testing is routine and transparent (though, as we have seen in cases like in Flint, this is not without its flaws).

That aside, estimates suggest at least half of all bottled water sold in stores simply came from a city tap and not a glacier or mountain spring.

Continue reading at ENN affiliate, Care2.

Photo Credit: Dsw4 / Wikimedia Commons

 

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