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A Case of Bottled Water or a Case of Lies? The Bottled Water Scam

As a filter company, you know we’re passionate about clean water. So wouldn’t we be behind bottled water then?

Absolutely not. Bottled water is a scam, it’s costing you more money than water should and hurting the earth.

Most of the time your tap water (with a filter!) is safer and better for you. We’re addressing things like the “pure sources” companies use and other lies in this guide.

Even if you think you’re educated on the impact of water bottles, we bet something will surprise you.

We’re not saying you should throw out that case of bottled water in your pantry, but tell us how you feel after reading below.

The History of Bottled Water

Bottled water got its start in Boston in the late 1700’s. This was at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution when air quality wasn’t great.

Jackson’s Spa sold bottled water for “therapeutic uses“. After that, companies in Albany and Saratoga Springs hopped on the bandwagon.

The popularity of bottled water increases every year. In fact, each year people drink 10% more than the year before.

That’s about 39 gallons of bottled water per person, per year. 2016 was the first time bottled water outperformed other pre-packaged drinks.

A Case of Bottled Water Safety: The Quality

Many people buy bottled water because they think it’s cleaner or safer than tap water. Most of the time they’re wrong. Not only do most companies get their water from public sources, but they add chemicals.

Your public tap water quality is high since it’s tested regularly. Your city does its due diligence to make sure what you drink is safe.

Unless you have a private well with no filter or live in Flint, tap water quality is better or equal to bottled.

If you want to get into the nitty-gritty details (we will), bottled water is worse for you.

Water bottles are made with soft plastic, which poses more risks than just BPA. Even if your bottle is BPA free, other chemicals like PET can affect your health.

PET stands for polyethylene terephthalate and it’s full of endocrine disruptors. That’s right, your bottled water could be messing with your hormones!

Water from PET bottles has higher phthalate content than tap water, twelve times over!

Over-Sterilization

To put the “filtered” or “purified” label on their water bottles, companies have to put the water through a cleaning process. Let’s remember that most of them are using pre-approved safe drinking water.

Filtering already safe water leaches out water’s natural minerals and substances. In extreme over-filtering cases, this makes something called “dead water”.

Dead water is chemically similar to acid rain, but not as detrimental. It won’t burn your insides, but you won’t get the hydration and health benefits you’re expecting.

Acidic Water

This over-filtering process adds chemicals, which decreases the acidity of the water. Alkaline water, the kind that’s good for us, is around a 7-8 on the PH scale.

Below are a list of some popular water brands and their PH.

  • Propel Fitness Water 3.36 PH
  • Dasani Water 4.5
  • Aquafina 5
  • Perrier 5.5
  • Poland Spring 5.8
  • Voss 6.0
  • Smart Water 6.5
  • Evian 7.0
  • Fiji 7.5

Later on in this article, we’ll address where bottled water is actually sourced. The lower PH (more acidic) brands on this list are ones that refuse to list where they get their water. Or they’re using water from public sources and changing the pH in the filtering process.

Water Source Lies

Ok, now that you have an idea of the lies the bottled water industry feeds consumers, let’s look at sources.

Let’s start with Aquafina, a product of PepsiCo. Their bottle has a picture of mountains on it and says “pure water, perfect taste”.

It gives the idea and the price tag that it comes from a pure source. However, in 2015 Pepsi admitted it sources from a “public water source“.

AKA, you just bought a bottle of tap water. Let’s dig a little deeper. What makes Aquafina pure? They put it through reverse osmosis, charcoal filtration, ozonation and other steps they call the HYDRO-7 system.

The company does not tell us where it gets their tap water from, as in geographical locations. We can hope that the tap water they source from has a more natural pH!

Other water bottle brands are just as bad. Let’s look at Dasani to be fair.

Dasani is a product of the Coca-Cola company. It, too, admitted to being from public water sources.

Now we know a bulk of Dasani product comes from coastal California, around the San Fransico area. This makes sense since San Fransico has some of the best public water in the country.

San Fransisco’s water has a natural pH level, but Dasani’s acidity is 2.5 points away from the healthy water average.

Cost

All this to say, you’re not getting better quality water from a bottle. Most of the time, the quality is worse than what you get at home.

But you’re still paying out the nose for it. One gallon of bottled water costs a consumer 300 times more than the same amount from a tap.

Can you imagine paying 300 times more for anything? Let alone something that may be the exact same or worse than the product at the base price?

That’s a conservative estimation since most people don’t buy their water bottles in gallon sizes. You are spending even more than 300 times for smaller bottles.

Taste

Some people argue that bottled water tastes better than tap water. If you have a sufficient water filter, you shouldn’t be able to taste a difference.

In a blind taste test at Boston University, students put this idea to the test. In the end, only one-third of taste testers could tell a difference in water taste.

So now you’re paying over 300 times the cost for something you have 30% chance of liking better. We think that’s a little insane.

You could spend money once and get better tasting and safer water for life with a water filter. We’re not done yet, though.

Let’s talk about bottled water and the environment.

Environmental Impacts

Before you skip over this section because you know about single-use plastics, stop. There are more problems with bottled water than the plastic waste they create.

We’re exploring all of them below.

Water to Make Water?

If you paid any attention in the last few years, you’d know places like California are running out of the water. Scary, especially because there are many bottled water factories in drought zones!

Specifically, it takes six liters of water to make one liter of bottled water.

This includes the water it takes to make plastic bottles, much of which isn’t re-usable and powering machinery. Transport from the plants to the distribution sites costs water too.

Single Use Plastics

Right now, in the ocean, there’s an island made of plastic six times the size of England. Even though England is a small-ish country, six Englands is sizeable.

This floating trash island won’t biodegrade for at least four-hundred years. Water bottles make up a good population of this island.

While the water bottles float on the water, their toxins leach into marine life and poison the oceans. This means we could consume seafood infected by water bottle toxins.

If we stay on the same track we’re on there will be one ton of plastic for every three tons of fish in the ocean. That’s a ton of floating plastic, no pun intended.

(A ton is 2,000 pounds as a reminder)

Oil Use

It takes oil and petrochemicals to make plastic water bottles. This is a finite resource and using oil has a detrimental environmental effect.

To produce the amount of bottled water Americans consumed in 2006, it took 17 billion gallons of oil. That’s enough to fill up one million cars and drive them regularly for one year!

On top of that, the process of creating plastic bottles releases carbon dioxide, one of the components of global warming. That same amount of water from the 2006 dataset released 2.5 million tons of CO2 into the atmosphere.

Talk about a carbon footprint! Those numbers were from only 31.2 billion liters of bottled water. Our usage is way up since then.

What Can You Do?

Hopefully, this article opened your eyes to the lies we’re fed about the case of bottled water. Maybe you even learned something, we did! Now you’re asking yourself, what can I do about all this?

The answer is simple, stop drinking bottled water. If you’re looking for higher quality water, install a water filter iOtherwinstead.

They’re less expensive, don’t pollute the oceans, and make normal tap water even cleaner. All things bottled water can’t do.

Get a water filter, then invest in some high-quality refillable water bottles. Shop for the filter here!

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