Which is safer, bottled water, or water from the tap for your baby’s formula? Well according to Dr. Sarah Janssen, science fellow with the Natural Resources Defense Council in San Francisco, which conducted an extensive analysis of bottled water back in 1999, “Bottled water isn’t any safer or purer than what comes out of the tap. In fact, it’s less well-regulated, and you’re more likely to know what’s in tap water.”(1) Actually, because tap water is regulated by the EPA rather than the FDA, which regulates bottled water, it is subject to very different standards for purity. The EPA regulates the levels of roughly 90 different contaminants, including germs such as giardia, heavy metals such as lead and dozens of industrial chemicals in tap water.(2) These guidelines, however, do vary from state to state. But for the most part, “If a utility is doing its job and it’s well funded, they can take all this stuff out,” says Elizabeth Royte, author of “Bottlemania: How Water Went on Sale and Why We Bought It.”(3) On the other hand bottled water, which is not subject to these guidelines, does not have to be filtered, disinfected, or even tested, and therefore can possibly contain much higher levels of bacteria.
And what about the environment? Bottled water requires lots of energy to pump bottle and transport. True plastic water bottles are recyclable, but statistics show that only around 20-25 percent actually make it the recycling station. Bottled water produces up to 1.5 million tons of plastic waste per year. According to Food and Water Watch, that plastic requires up to 47 million gallons of oil per year to produce. (4) That assumes empty bottles actually make it to a garbage can. Plastic waste is now at such a volume that vast eddies of current-bound plastic trash now spin endlessly in the world’s major oceans. This represents a great risk to marine life, killing birds and fish which mistake our garbage for food. (5)
And what about harmful chemicals leaching from plastic? Plastic bottles pose a health risk. Studies have shown that
chemicals called phthalates, which are known to disrupt testosterone and other hormones, can leach into bottled water over time. One study found that water that had been stored for 10 weeks in plastic and in glass bottles contained phthalates, suggesting that the chemicals could be coming from the plastic cap or liner. Although there are regulatory standards limiting phthalates in tap water, there are no legal limits for phthalates in bottled water — the bottled water industry waged a successful campaign opposing the FDA proposal to set a legal limit for these chemicals!(6)
What can you do? There’s a simple alternative to bottled water: bring your own filtered tap water for your baby’s formula, store it in a glass or stainless steel container and feel good about your positive impact on the environment!
1-3.”Safety of Bottled Water, by Elona Conis, The Los
Angeles Times, October 13, 2008
4-5.”5 Reason’s not to drink bottled water”, by Chris
Baskind, The Mother Nature Network, March 15, 2010
6.”Plastic Bottle Facts”, Nubiusorganics.com
5Phases is dedicated to a healthy and organic lifestyle for babies. We develop products that minimize harmful exposure to chemicals, giving baby the best start possible. For more information, visit our Facebook page or online @ www.5phases.com