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10 Types of Chemicals Lurking in Your Bottled Water

Every year, the average American drinks 39.3 gallons of water. This makes bottled water the most popular beverage in the United States, more popular than soda.

While it’s great that Americans are drinking more water and less soda, there are a lot of risks associated with drinking bottled water.

For example, tens of thousands of chemicals (nearly 25,000) lurk in plastic water bottles, and many of them can have serious negative effects on your health.

Read on to learn about ten of the most dangerous chemicals in bottled water. After learning about these contaminants, you’ll be ready to give up bottled water for good.

1. Coliform

Coliform are rod-shaped bacteria that are often found in the intestinal tract. There are three groups of Coliform bacteria:

  • Total coliform: This is a large collection of bacteria often found in the environment.
  • Fecal coliform: These are types of total coliform that are present in fecal matter.
  • E. coli: This is a subgroup of fecal coliform.

The presence of Coliform bacteria in drinking water does not always cause negative symptoms. But, in some cases, consuming it can lead to serious gastrointestinal issues, including diarrhea and nausea. Contamination can also cause headaches, fatigue, and even jaundice.

Despite these risks, the FDA currently allows up to 9.2 coliform organisms to be present in every 100 milliliters of bottled water.

2. Arsenic

Arsenic is a type of poison and a known human carcinogen. It enters the water when natural deposits erode. Industrial runoff can also deposit arsenic into the water supply.

Arsenic consumption can lead to a variety of serious health problems, including the following:

  • Cancer
  • Cardiovascular toxicity
  • Blood toxicity
  • Kidney toxicity
  • Endocrine toxicity
  • Gastrointestinal toxicity
  • Liver toxicity
  • Neurotoxicity
  • Reproductive toxicity
  • Skin sensitivity
  • Respiratory toxicity

The FDA allows bottled water to contain up to 0.05 milligrams of arsenic per liter of water.

3. Iron

Iron is a metallic element. While the body does need some iron to function properly, excessive iron consumption can lead to a variety of health problems.

Some well-known health issues associated with iron toxicity include:

  • Damaged skin cells, which can lead to conditions like acne, wrinkles, and eczema
  • Digestive issues like nausea and vomiting
  • Iron overload, which can lead to hemochromatosis, which can lead to diabetes and pancreatic, heart, and liver damage

Iron often enters the water supply as a result of corrosion in underground pipes.

The FDA allows bottled water to contain up to 0.3 milligrams of iron per liter of water.

4. Nitrate

Nitrate is a common ingredient found in fertilizers. It often pollutes drinking water sources throughout the nation — including the drinking water sources from which bottled water companies get their water.

Nitrate poses a variety of health risks, especially for infants. One of the most well-known risks to infants is Methemoglobinemia (blue-baby syndrome). This illness occurs when nitrate replaces the oxygen that is normally carried by the red blood cells.

Nitrate pollution can also have potential endocrine-disrupting effects.

Endocrine disruptors are chemicals that interfere with the endocrine system. This interference can lead to tumor growth, birth defects, and developmental disorders. Any system that is controlled by hormones can be thrown off by endocrine disruptors.

The FDA allows up to 10 milligrams of nitrate for every liter of bottled water.

5. Phenols

Phenols are corrosive and potentially poisonous acidic compounds.

Phenols are found in water supplies, and they’re also used to make plastic water bottles. These compounds can leach into the water being stored in the plastic bottle.

When ingested, phenols can cause gastrointestinal damage and birth defects. Consumption of concentrated phenol can even be lethal.

In children, phenol consumption can also lead to vomiting and lethargy.

The FDA allows up to 0.001 milligrams of phenols per every liter of bottled water.

6. Bisphenol-A

Bisphenol-A, also known as BPA, is a chemical that is added to clear plastics. It’s found in many plastic water bottles, as well as food storage containers, baby bottles, and other containers.

BPA can leach from water bottles and other storage containers into the water you drink and the food you consume. From there, it can easily make its way into the bloodstream.

One study from the Centers for Disease Control found that BPA is present in more than 90 percent of Americans’ blood.

The FDA considers BPA to be safe. But, numerous studies have shown that it is an endocrine disruptor. In animal studies, it’s even been shown to alter mating habits and hormone signaling.

There is no limit to the amount of BPA allowed in water bottles and many other containers. But, the FDA has recently banned the presence of BPA in baby bottles and sippy cups.

7. Fluorene-9-Bisphenol

The FDA maintains that BPA is generally safe. But, many manufacturers have caught on to the fact that consumers would rather not consume a potential endocrine disruptor.

As a result, they’re bottling water and other products in BPA-free plastic. Seems like a good idea, right?

In theory, yes, it’s good that manufacturers are leaving BPA out of their water bottles. But, there are still many other potentially dangerous ingredients found in these bottles, include fluorine-9-bisphenol.

Fluorine-9-bisphenol appears to be just as toxic as BPA. One study found that, in mice, BHFP can lead to uterine problems and miscarriages.

BHFP also works opposite of BPA. Instead of increasing the effects of estrogen in the body, it appears to function as an estrogen blocker.

8. Fluoride

Fluoride is present in many brands of bottled water. Fluoride is a potent chemical that can strengthen the teeth and kill of microbes that may increase one’s risk of developing cavities. On the surface, fluoride seems like a great ingredient to add to water.

While many people sing the praises of fluoridated water, it also has potentially negative health effects. Fluoride ingestion has been linked to an increased risk of fluorosis in children. This is a condition that leads to dark staining and substantial corrosion of the tooth enamel.

Other conditions associated with excessive fluoride consumption include:

  • Dermatological conditions like acne
  • Arterial calcification
  • Arteriosclerosis
  • Bone weakness
  • Bone cancer
  • Heart failure
  • Cognitive deficits
  • Diabetes
  • Early puberty
  • Fetal brain damage
  • Thyroid dysfunction
  • Decreased fertility rates
  • Immune system dysfunction

Legally, manufacturers must say on the label if their product contains fluoride. Unlabeled bottled water can contain up to 2.4 milligrams of fluoride per liter of water.

9. Manganese

Manganese, like iron, is not inherently dangerous. In fact, the body needs some manganese to function properly. But, excessive manganese can trigger a variety of health problems.

High manganese exposure has been linked to neurotoxicity. It can even produce symptoms of a condition that resembles Parkinson’s disease.

Manganese has not been linked to other forms of toxicity, like cancer or reproductive issues.

Manganese exposure appears to be more problematic in children, who absorb more of it and excrete less of it than children.

The FDA allows bottled water to contain up to 0.05 milligrams of manganese per liter of water.

10. Toluene

Toluene is a petroleum-derived chemical. It’s used as a solvent for products like paint, paint thinner, silicone sealant, printing ink, rubber, leather tanner, and disinfectants.

The presence of toluene in drinking water can contribute to a variety of health risks, including the following:

  • Cardiovascular toxicity
  • Blood toxicity
  • Developmental disorders
  • Gastrointestinal and liver issues
  • Immune system dysfunction
  • Kidney toxicity
  • Neurotoxicity
  • Skin sensitivity
  • Reproductive issues
  • Respiratory toxicity

The FDA does not allow more than 1 milligram per liter of toluene in bottled water.

How to Avoid the Chemicals in Bottled Water

Clearly, there are a lot of risks that come with consuming bottled water. If your health is a priority, you ought to switch from bottled water to other forms of water. But, what are you supposed to drink instead?

Tap water isn’t any safer than bottled water. In fact, it can often contain even more contaminants. One of the best approaches you can take to ensure you’re drinking clean water is to invest in a water filter.

In addition to drinking cleaner water, there are many other benefits that come from using a water filter. Some of the greatest benefits include:

  • Reduce skin issues like dryness and eczema
  • Save on water expenses
  • Reduce carbon footprint and environmental strain

Once you’ve invested in a water filter, be sure to drink out of a glass or stainless steel water bottle. Ditch the reusable plastic for good!

Types of Water Filters

There are lots of water filters on the market, and it can be hard to decide which type to use. The following are some of the most common water filters you may want to consider investing in:

  • Carbon filters
  • Reverse osmosis filters
  • Faucet filters
  • Refrigerator filters
  • Whole household filters

Even if you’re working with a limited budget, you can still enjoy the benefits that come from drinking filtered water.

Get a Water Filter Today

If you want to avoid all the nasty chemicals in bottled water, investing in a water filter can help you save a lot of money and ensure you’re consuming the cleanest, safest water possible.

Check out the water filters on our online shop today to find high-quality filters for every budget and preference.

Whether you’re looking for a refrigerator filter, a faucet filter, or an under-the-counter filter, we’ve got you covered!

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