There are articles, flyers, and even books out in the market that try to persuade people to either use bottled water or tap water. While many believe that tap water is more beneficial to the body, others believe that the convenience and advertising of purified bottled water is acceptable enough for themselves. As we consume water, we concern ourselves with issues such as if it is harmful to the environment, if it is harmful to our health and whether the product is convenient for us. Ultimately, the choice is personal because both sides provide pros and cons to these issues.
In our world, pollution is a common factor to the deterioration this planet is facing. Water bottles, when not disposed of properly, lead to pollution. In an online article entitled, “Tap water vs. Bottled Water and the Environment,” it states, “…nearly 90% of bottles are not recycled.” (Karlstrom and Dell’Amore) The failure to recycle leads to serious issues in our environment. Who is to blame for the shortcomings of recycling? We all are. As citizens of America, we have a responsibility to recycle as soon as the bottle is in our possession. Even when transporting bottled water for production and sale, a significant amount of fossil fuels and carbon dioxide is produced causing much fuel usage.
Although bottled water should not be blamed for all of the earth’s environmental issues, there is quite a bit of damage it has caused already and this should be a caveat for water bottle drinkers. On another side, tap water does not need the production of bottles so fossil fuels would not be utilized as much. The article explains that the environment would be 17.6 million barrels of oil richer if people consumed tap water over bottled water. (Karlstrom and Dell’Amore). Tap water could be consumed in washable glasses preventing the disposal of trash to end up on the landfills. Tap water is also used for other reasons besides drinking, for example: plants are watered with tap water and this in turn helps the environment’s ecosystem.
As consumers of any type of water, a main priority would be the health risks and the benefits that come along with drinking water. First and foremost, The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), regulates bottled water. When the FDA regulates water, they go through the process of making sure that water meets the adequate standards for the safety of the customers (Olson). Bottled water must be tested for coliform once a week in order to maintain cleanliness. It is very reassuring to know that if any type of bottled water contamination is found it will be recalled or properly cleansed again. Even though bottled water is being regulated periodically, it isn’t always as safe as the bottled water companies make it seem. In an online article entitled, “The Big Secret Commercial Water Companies Hope You Never Discover”, it states, “…40 percent of bottled water is regular tap water, which may or may not have received any additional treatment.” (Mercola). As far as the bottle itself being of any benefit to the product, it isn’t. Plastic bottles contain chemicals that can become harmful to humans who reuse the plastic bottle.
Polyethylene terephthalate is already adapted into the container, however, if it is reused you are more likely to ingest different chemicals, such as, DEHA (Bis (2-ethylhexyl) adipate), a human carcinogen, and BBP (enzyl butyl phthalate), a potential hormone disputer. (Kelly). While some choose to reuse their plastic bottles, others stay on the less risky side and use tap water to benefit their health. During the disinfecting of tap water, chlorine is used, as well as fluoride for the consumers’ dental benefits. In 1974, The Safe Drinking Water Act was enforced, establishing that any type of tap water, had to have been regulated by the EPA. (Olson). The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) enforces the regulation for tap water. While most tap water is regulated and healthy for the population to drink, there are many underlining factors that can put a damper on the EPA’s regulation system.
For instance, hospitals are enforced to dispose of unused medication by either throwing them down the drain or flushing them down the toilet. According to an online article entitled, “Hospital Drugs Routinely get Flushed Down Drains where they Pollute Water Systems,” gives us an idea of the severity of contamination that drugs are doing to our water pipelines. “Water treatment plants rarely filter or screen for the presence of these drugs, but several studies have detected a vast range of meds in public water systems, including antibiotics, anticonvulsants, mood stabilizers, sex hormones, painkillers, and high blood pressure medicine, among many others.” (Wilson). These types of medications can be dangerous to unintentionally consume. Also of concern, the EPA’s allowance of lead for tap water is a lot higher than for bottled water due to the lead pipes that transport the water to homes. “Tap water lead levels are set at 15 ppb and bottled water is set at 5 ppb.” (The 3 R’s)
Ultimately, in today’s society, convenience usually prevails when busy people need to make a choice about water. When people think of the easy choice, they think of bottled water. Bottled water is already refrigerated and convenient to grab on the way out. Bottled water is suitable and appealing to us. Unfortunately, the “appealing” label of bottled water is not as truthful as its convenience provides. As previously stated, 40 percent of normal bottled water is just tap water. So when bottled water has a label describing it as water fresh from mountain waterfalls, it is possibly false advertising. As for the convenience of tap water, it may take some work to make it convenience but it is possible. When pouring tap water, the water is not as chilled as refrigerated bottled water. Tap water would take the process of getting cups that would have to be filled up and then if you were to take it to go, you would have to carry that bottle around, unlike bottled water, which you can dispose of in any trashcan.
Most people when choosing tap or bottled water do so without much thought or education. There are many pros and cons to both choices. To choose bottled water or tap water can be daunting for one who has done research in the matter. There are ways to be confident in drinking water; one must just find a way that is best for them. The information provided above gives the public the tools to make the choice. In the end it is up to the public to choose what is the right choice to make. Choose wisely.
Courtney from Study Moose
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