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Bottled Water

Posted Oct 22 2008 4:26pm

We all need water, all living things do.  Unfortunately a vast majority of us do not drink enough.  With so many beverage choices, it becomes difficult to make the right choice to quench our thirst.  However, water is the only truly suitable liquid for the human body.  The most common types of water choices include city water/tap water; bottled water; filtered water; and distilled water.  What is the wisest choice?  How much water should we have on a daily basis?  What are the various impacts of our water selection on our bodies?  You can read recent reports released by the associated press which states that bottled water is as polluted as tap water.

So, how much water should we consume?  The US government  recommends drinking eight - 8 ounce glasses of water per day.  That equates to two quarts (1.89 ltrs).  This is not enough water for most people.  The average adult loses from two to three quarts (up to 2.84 ltrs) of water per day.  A person weighing 200 pounds (90 kilos) or more should drink at least four quarts/onegallon (3.78 ltrs) a day.  Based on those numbers, it is easy to see how woefully short most people fall with regards to their water intake.

The type of water we consume is very important and will have some variation depending on special situations.  It is important to note that our water needs to be cleaned in some way as the pollution in our fresh water is virtually global and unavoidable.  Industrial, agricultural, environmental, and pharmaceutical pollution is rampant and creates toxicity in our environment and bodies.  This means that spring water still needs to be purified as it must pass through polluted areas to get to you.  Mineral and sparkling waters are not usually meant to be our sole form of water as their properties are not always conducive to simple hydration.  Over 40% of the water sold in the United States is “purified” water from our municipal water supplies and sold to us by soda pop corporations.  Really, there is no major health problem with this, if you prefer paying inflated prices for filtered tap water. 

Some health experts advise us to drink distilled water.  We cannot disagree more due to distillation leaves the water’s pH level too acidic (5.8) and distillation leaves water with the wrong ionization, polarization, and oxidation potential.  High acidic content leads to stress on our body’s resources as the acidity is buffered to maintain a consistent safe blood pH, among other health concerns.  While it is true that we do not really gain minerals from drinking water, the absence of minerals in distilled water can actually act as a leach on the delicate balance of mineral supply.  Interestingly, many of the dangerous things we are hoping to avoid by drinking distilled water may actually be exacerbated by stilled water intake.  

The best and safest answer is Reverse Osmosis.  Reverse Osmosis (RO) is a seperation process that uses pressure to force a solution through a membrane that retains the solute on one side and allows the pure solvent to pass to the other side.  It is best known for its use in desalination (removing the salt from sea water to get fresh water), but it has also been used to purify fresh water for medical, industrial and domestic applications.  RO can be teamed with many other purification methods but it is the RO membrane that will remove the really dangerous toxins.  RO water can be bought or you can filter it at home.  Whatever method you use, RO is the best filtering technique that ensures the safest possible drinking water. 

In addition to addressing the health reasons, we would like to recognize the global economic and environmental impact of polluted public water systems and the plight of empty and discarded plastic water bottles.  We pay a lot to achieve clean water, and as we continue to pay even more for clean water, we further pollute our delicate fresh water sources.  Shipping and producing bottled water takes an enormous amount of petroleum, and surprisingly, it also takes more water to produce the water that is actually put into the bottle!  Every year, 1.5 million tons of plastic are used to produce bottled water.  Twenty-nine percent (29%) of the 89 billion liters of water consumed are consumed outside their country of origin.  That exportation increases the carbon footprint required to produce bottled water.  Additionally, hazardous chemicals like phthalates, antimony, arsenic, and other plastic and manufacturing derivatives leech into the water from the bottle.  In actuality, many bottled waters are simply untreated or carbon treated (for taste) municipal water!  In fact regulations on tap water purity are significantly tighter than those on bottled water in the United States and Europe.  Evidence of that is seen in a purity study done by the National Resources Defense Council on 103 different brands of bottled water.  The study showed that 30% contained synthetic organic chemicals and bacteria.  While it is expensive and energy-intensive to recycle the plastic, you must also consider the vast amount of these containers that end up in our waterways - rivers, lakes, and oceans.  Even scarier is that seawater by weight has been shown to have 6 times more minute, nearly invisible plastic particles than plankton.  

In summary, we need to drink clean water!  While bottled water may be somewhat more preferable than tap water, RO filtered water remains the best choice for our health, our economy, and our environment.  If it is impractical to filter your own water, then commercial delivery of RO water will have a more positive environmental impact than buying cases of individual bottles.

      
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