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10 Types of Chemicals Lurking in Your Bottled Water

Every year, the average American drinks 39.3 gallons of bottled water. That means bottled water is the most popular beverage in the United States, even more popular than soda! So, we’re getting healthier, right?

While it’s great that we’re 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 adverse effects on our health.

Read on to learn about ten of the most dangerous chemicals in bottled water. You might be ready to give up bottled water for good.

1. Coliform

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

  • Total coliform: This is an extensive 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.

Coliform bacteria in drinking water does not always cause adverse 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 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, but industrial runoff can also deposit arsenic into the water supply.

Arsenic consumption can lead to a variety of severe 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 correctly, excessive iron consumption can lead to various 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 problems 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 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 usually carried by the red blood cells.

Nitrate pollution can also have potential endocrine-disrupting effects, which can throw off any system controlled by hormones. These interferences can lead to tumor growth, congenital disabilities, and developmental disorders.

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 found in water supplies. They’re also used to make plastic water bottles. 

When ingested, phenols can cause gastrointestinal damage and congenital disabilities, and in children, phenol consumption can lead to vomiting and lethargy. Consumption of concentrated phenol can even be lethal.

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

6. Bisphenol-A

Bisphenol-A, also known as BPA, is a chemical added to transparent plastics found in many plastic water bottles, food storage containers, baby bottles, and other plastic containers.

BPA can leach from the plastic 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. Wow!

The FDA considers BPA safe, but numerous studies have shown that it is an endocrine disruptor. In animal studies, it has 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 that consumers would rather not consume a potential endocrine disruptor.

As a result, they’re bottling water and other products in BPA-free plastic. It 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 other potentially dangerous ingredients found in these bottles, including 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, present in many bottled water brands, is a potent chemical that can strengthen the teeth and kill 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 praise fluoridated water, it also has potentially harmful health effects. Fluoride ingestion is linked to an increased risk of fluorosis in children, 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 correctly. But excessive manganese can trigger a variety of health problems.

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

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

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:

  • 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

There are a lot of risks that come with consuming bottled water. If your health is a priority, consider switching from bottled water to other forms of filtered water. But, what are you supposed to drink instead?

Tap water isn’t any safer than bottled water but can often contain even more contaminants. One of the best approaches to ensure you’re drinking clean water is investing in a water filter.

Check out these fringe benefits: 

  • 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, drink out of a glass or stainless steel water bottle. Ditch the single-use and reusable plastic for good!

Types of Water Filters

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

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 the chemicals in bottled water, investing in a water filter can help you save money and ensure you’re consuming the cleanest, safest water possible.

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

1 thought on “10 Types of Chemicals Lurking in Your Bottled Water”

  1. I never knew so many chemicals, were in bottled water, and plastic, water bottle. Nice to know what i am really drinking.
    Thanks for the information.

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