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Are Plastic Water Bottles Safe: Environmental and Health Impacts

Updated on March 17, 2014
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What's in my water bottle?

Essentially, the same exact water that comes from the tap. There is little difference between tap water and bottled water; in fact, a quarter of those big wig water bottle companies take water straight from the tap and sell it to you for 1,000 times the cost! You may be thinking, That water is pure, fresher than tap water. Pure? These companies use slogans such as "100% natural" and "crisp, fresh taste," well what does that even mean? Is the municipal water not natural, fresh, pure or crisp? The truth is, they are almost identical - if not the same exact substance. These water companies take free water and charge people upwards of $2.00 a bottle.

Tapped Documentary: Warning the public of water bottle hazards

Is this water safe?

There is little evidence to show either case - safe or unsafe. This is the problem exactly. Most water companies, Poland Springs, Coca-Cola, Pepsi, operate in state lines. They've worked around the very systems in place to protect us from hazardous products. The FDA does not have jurisdiction with products made and sold in state lines. For this reason, 70% of water bottles are not tested by the FDA. The remaining 30% are delegated to one women in the FDA. One women to handle the 1500 water bottles that are consumed in the US every second, making 47 billion water bottles per year in the US alone. In addition, the companies are responsible for conducting these tests to determine safety. In this capitalist society, where profit is put above the people, the results of these very tests can be unreliable. Just last year, two companies recalled a total of 1.6 million plastic water bottles for possible plastic fragment contamination. This is not an individual event, Poland Springs also released a statement issuing a concern for the 3 and 5 gallon water jugs which may have been contaminated with gasoline after Super Storm Sandy which plummeted the North East last year. Not only is the plastic potentially unsafe, the waters quality is also up for question. Your town water is constantly being tested, up to 400 times per month! A problem with the quality of the water can therefore be immediately detected and fixed. The water in these plastic water bottles, however, are not nearly tested as thoroughly and as often. At any moment, we are unclear as to what we are drinking from these ubiquitous plastic nightmares.

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Not only are these unsafe for you, they're also killing the environment

The carbon emissions begin from from the get-go. Not only is energy spent collecting and distributing these unnecessary water bottles, the production of water bottles requires millions of barrels of oil - depleting our fossil fuels and ever-shrinking resources. These factors contribute to air pollution, sometimes causing death in inhabitants living in close proximity to these factories. At the same time, out of the 47 billion water bottles used every year, only a third of these make it to the recycling center. The rest begin their epic journey to the ocean and landfills, where they ultimately begin their destruction of the natural environment. The mysterious Pacific Garbage pit is an example of this water pollution. A mass of plastic filaments, including these non-recycled bottles, swirl in an area double the size of Texas in the middle of the ocean. Marine life cannot sustain itself in these areas when the amount of pollution outnumbers the amount of sea life. The pollution that does not spend it's time trapped in the heap of trash, washes up onto beautiful beaches, one of which on the Southern coast of Florida. This beach has become host to a sand composed of plastic fragments. This could be the eventual state of beaches across the world if we continue to consume and dispose. The amount of trash on this planet will grow exponentially as we run out of ways to get rid of the ungodly disposed. So far we've maintained an "Out of sight, out of mind" mentality; this, however, is coming to a halt as our pollution is quickly catching up to us.

How often do you use plastic water bottles

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So, what's the alternative?

Yes, I cannot argue with the portable plastic water bottle's convenience. A quick on-the-go, supposedly healthy lifestyle choice does sound appealing. With further inspection the health, safety and environmental factors outweigh that single convenience factor. It is just as easy to grab a reusable safe plastic container to tote around on your daily errands. Not only is this cheaper and safer, this also reduces the amount of air pollution and water pollution in our environment. You can make a difference with this easy step to go green!

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    • mecheshier profile image

      mecheshier 3 years ago

      Great Hub.... I love the research you did. I would have done the quiz but there was no option for 0 times a day. :-) Thanks for the great post. Voted up for useful!

    • alyssagoesgreen profile image
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      Alyssa S. 3 years ago from USA

      Thank you! I can't believe I forget to add that option, I'll have to go back and adjust that.

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