Tuesday, September 23, 2014

bottled water, bad for you.

Why You Shouldn't Drink Warm Bottled Water

Why You Shouldn't Drink Warm Bottled Water
Photo by Henrik Sorensen/Digital Vision/Getty Images
A few years back, rumors circulated that Sheryl Crow claimed drinking bottled water left in a hot car had given her breast cancer. The result? A fresh wave of good, old-fashioned American fear. Since then, the worry over plastic bottles leaching dangerous chemicals into our water has never quite disappeared — and perhaps for good reason, suggests a new study published in the September edition of Environmental Pollution.
Scientists from Nanjing University in China and the University of Florida investigated the effects of storing 16 brands of bottled water (all sold in China) at three temperatures: 39 degrees F, 77 degrees F, and 158 degrees F, intended to mimic the temperatures of a refrigerator, a standard room, and the inside of a car, respectively. “Based on the literature, that is a temperature that’s reachable on a hot summer day in a car,” study author Lena Ma told Yahoo Health.
The researchers checked the levels of two substances —antimony and bisphenol A (BPA) — after one, two, and four weeks. Antimony, a trace heavy metal, has been found to play a role in lung, heart, and gastrointestinal diseases, according to a 2009 study reviewThe International Agency for Research on Cancer classifies one form of the metal, called antimony trioxide, as a “possible carcinogen.” BPA, meanwhile, is a chemical that can mimic estrogen in the body and which is found in some plastics; it’s been banned for use by the FDA in baby bottles and sippy cups.
The researchers found that as the temperature rose and time passed, increasingly high levels of antimony were detectable in the bottles of water. Specifically, at 77° F, the release of antimony increased by as much as twofold over that at the cooler temperature — although the levels of the trace metal varied by brand, increasing significantly at 77 degrees F in only six out of 16 brands.
BPA levels, meanwhile, went up in only three brands at this temperature, though the concentration still wasn’t high enough to cause concern, Ma said. But the presence of BPA in bottled water, period, is still something of a mystery: “In theory, the plastic should not contain BPA,” she said. One explanation, she noted, is that “during the manufacturing process, especially if you use recycled plastics, you may find trace amounts of BPA. It’s an impurity.”  
At 158 degrees F — the hot-car condition — antimony concentrations consistently increased, with up to a 319-fold boost in levels of the metal, compared with levels in the refrigerator condition. The highest level measured was .00026 milligrams per liter of water, which is still lower than the EPA’s legal limit of .0006 milligrams per liter for drinking water. However, other countries, such as Japan, have set stricter limits on the substance.
The scientists estimate that, worst-case scenario, drinking the most heavily contaminated brand of bottled water could mean consuming .0004 mg of antimony per kilogram of body weight each day, which they said may pose a health risk, especially for children. Another factor to consider: Calcium — often found in bottled mineral water — has been shown to enhance the release of antimony. “Therefore,” the researchers wrote, “the health risk caused by [antimony] release from PET bottles in this study may be underestimated.” 

why use bottled water at all. most of it is tap water or worse. reason 2,076 to stop buying bottled water and use a filter. it takes 1/4 of a bottle of oil to make the bottle, bottle the water, transport it, and store it


Saturday, September 20, 2014

what is in tapwater


Saturday, September 13, 2014

reason no. 972 to not drink bottled water

Bottled Water Comes From the Most Drought-Ridden Places in the Country

This post first was published at Mother Jones.
Map of areas of the US suffering from drought and bottled water aquifier locations
Bottled-water drinkers, we have a problem: there’s a good chance that your water comes from California, a state experiencing the third driest year on record.
The details of where and how bottling companies get their water are often quite murky, but generally speaking, bottled water falls into two categories. The first is “spring water,” or groundwater that’s collected, according to the EPA, “at the point where water flows naturally to the earth’s surface or from a borehole that taps into the underground source.” About 55 percent of bottled water in the US is spring water, including Crystal Geyser and Arrowhead.
The other 45 percent comes from the municipal water supply, meaning that companies, including Aquafina and Dasani, simply treat tap water — the same stuff that comes out of your faucet at home — and bottle it up. (Weird, right?)
But regardless of whether companies bottle from springs or the tap, lots of them are using water in exactly the areas that need it most right now.
Drinking California Dry - map of bottled water aquifiers
The map above shows the sources of water for four big-name companies that bottle in California. Aquafina and Dasani “sources” are the facilities where tap water is treated and bottled, whereas Crystal Geyser and Arrowhead “sources” refer to the springs themselves.
In the grand scheme of things, the amount of water used for bottling in California is only a tiny fraction of the amount of water used for food and beverage production—plenty of other bottled drinks use California’s water, and a whopping 80 percent of the state’s water supply goes towards agriculture. But still, the question remains: Why are Americans across the country drinking bottled water from drought-ridden California?
One reason is simply that California happens to be where some bottled water brands have set up shop. “You have to remember this is a 120-year-old brand,” said Jane Lazgin, a representative for Arrowhead. “Some of these sources have long, long been associated with the brand.” Lazgin acknowledges that, from an environmental perspective, “tap water is always the winner,” but says that the company tries to manage its springs sustainably. The water inside the bottle isn’t the only water that bottling companies require: Coca-Cola bottling plants, which produce Dasani, use 1.63 liters of water for every liter of beverage produced in California, according to Coca-Cola representative Dora Wong. ”Our California facilities continue to seek ways to reduce overall water use,” she wrote in an email.
Another reason we’re drinking California’s water: California happens to be the only western state without groundwater regulation or management of major groundwater use. In other words, if you’re a water company and you drill down and find water in California, it’s all yours.
Then there’s the aforementioned murkiness of the industry: Companies aren’t required to publicly disclose exactly where their sources are or how much water each facility bottles. Peter Gleick, author of Bottled and Sold: The Story Behind Our Obsession with Bottled Water, says, “I don’t think people have a clue—no one knows” where their bottled water comes from. (Fun facts he’s discovered in his research: Everest water comes from Texas, Glacier Mountain comes from Ohio and only about a third of Poland Springs water comes from the actual Poland Spring, in Maine.)
Despite the fact that almost all US tap water is better regulated and monitored than bottled, and despite the hefty environmental footprint of the bottled water industry, perhaps the biggest reason that bottling companies are using water in drought zones is simply because we’re still providing a demand for it: In 2012 in the US alone, the industry produced about 10 billion gallons of bottled water, with sales revenues at 12 billion dollars.
As Gleick wrote, “This industry has very successfully turned a public resource into a private commodity.” And consumers — well, we’re drinking it up.