Through the years, there have been many controversies surrounding the industry of bottled water.  Many of the controversies have been mostly about whether or not drinking bottled water is safe.  Some experts think bottled water should be avoided at all costs, but others say it is more dangerous to drink tap water.  Fortunately, there are some common myths that the Florida Beverage Association has dispelled about drinking water, especially bottled water, that can help you decide if drinking bottled water is safe.

Tap Water is Safer Than Bottled Water
Contrary to popular belief, bottled water and tap water are both safe for drinking.  Since they are highly regulated by various departments, they are safe.  Bottled water is regulated by the FDA, or the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and they impose certain strict standards for the bottled water to protect the public health as set by the EPA, or the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.  Not only do the federal regulations make bottled water safe, but often each state puts strict standards on their bottled water as well.  The rigorous requirements are mandatory in order to sell bottled water in the United States.

One of the major differences between tap water and bottled water is the strictness of processing and decontamination.  Typical tap water consists of chemicals, bacteria, and heavy metals.  Therefore, a filtration system is often suggested to cleanse the water before drinking it. Bottled water is held to stricter standards when it comes to processing the water.  Bottled water poses its own risks, especially when it comes to the plastic used for the bottles.

Bottled water contains three hazards that are often found in areas where you least expect it.  The first major hazard is Bisphenol A, also known as BPA.  This is a chemical that many of the larger industries use in their production to stabilize the epoxy resins as well as the various plastics to reduce the chances of cracking.  BPA is often found in bottled water, and it can cause many adverse effects for infants, children and individuals with prostate issues.  The major problem with BPA is when it is heated.

PET, or polyethylene terephthalate, bottles are free of BPA, but they have their own risks.  They have been known to contain various contaminants like food residue, saliva, and fecal matter, and since it is almost impossible to clean, it can still be contaminated after several uses. Phthalates is a chemical compound that can leak into the water during production.  This is mostly found in the PVC pipes of your home or in the factory where the bottled water is produced.  One tip to avoid plastic toxicity is to avoid the bottles getting heated in the sun or by other heat source.

Plastic From Bottled Water Ends Up in the Waste Stream
This is another myth that simply isn’t true.  Plastic, especially that from the bottled water industry, is some of the most recycled packaging in the United States.  Most recycling programs accept the bottles, and these containers make up less than one-third of the 1 percent of waste produced in this country.  There is a need for recycling education, however, that could help with the conservation of plastic and reducing the waste stream.

Recycling can come in different forms, and if you must drink from plastic bottles, remember to recycle wisely.  There are several ways to improve your recycling habits to include your plastic bottles:

• Consider what you recycle and think outside of the box
• Repurpose the things you plan to recycle
• Find your nearest center for recycling
• Encourage the people in your home to recycle more
• Make the idea of recycling fun

There are many myths surrounding the health of bottled water and if it is safe for drinking.  Luckily, bottled water has been proven safe for consumption.  Dispelling of the myths above only proves this idea further.

For more information, visit Careworks.

Author:  Sarah Vidumsky, PA-C