Bottled water is the most widely consumed drink in the world. People who support the use of bottled water claim that it is safer, more convenient, and tastes better than tap water. On the other hand, ones who encourage the use of tap water cite increased cost, greater contamination level, and potential exposure to plastic-based chemicals, as reasons for avoiding bottled water. Although, one is likely to be safe if they choose to drink bottled water, it is, however, important that they know about its potential side-effects too. Read on for some common bottled water side effects.
Contamination as a Side Effect of Bottled Water
Tap water and bottled water can both contain small amounts of fungal, bacterial, mineral and other contaminants. But there is a slightly higher chance of bottled water containing more of these contaminants. The presence of increased contaminants is one of the side effects of bottled water. Tap water as well as bottled water are regulated by the EPA, which ensures that they strictly meet safety guidelines. The FDA also regulates bottled water as a packaged food product. FDA makes it mandatory for bottled water companies to get their products tested on a regular basis for ensuring that they do not contain dangerous contaminants. However, all the testing and recommendations for bottled water are not as strictly enforced or stringent as those on tap water. Also, reuse of plastic water bottles which are not washed properly, can lead to greater bacterial contamination. But, both these water sources are still considered safe for human consumption by the EPA.
Plastic Toxicity Due to Bottled Water
The chemical known as Bisphenol-A (BPA) is present in many food-safe plastic containers. BPA is an endocrine disruptor, which restricts the normal hormone function, and specifically disrupts estrogen. BPA from the plastic source enters into food and water, and makes them unhealthy for consumption. Drinking water bottles made of plastic and a lot of reusable water containers for drinking contain BPA. This is a major side effect of bottled water. Currently, scientists are debating on whether the amount of BPA exposure, which people receive from plastic food containers, is safe or not. Unless the outcome of advanced testing is revealed, people are advised to either have bottled waters which have “BPA free” mentioned on their label, or drink tap water, for minimizing their risk of BPA exposure.
Lack of Fluoride in Bottled Water
Fluoride occurs naturally in tap water, and helps in preventing tooth decay and gum damage in children. Fluoride is added to tap water by many municipalities, for increasing this benefit. When bottled water is exclusively given to children, they miss out on these benefits and experience increased tooth decay and gum disease. Since tap water is used as the base product in some bottled waters, they tend to contain fluoride, unlike others who do not. Fluoridated water is highly recommended for good oral health, by doctors across the globe.
The way people drink water shows what kind of society they are in. It is important that people should choose to drink plastic bottled water only when there is absolutely no other alternative. For example, when in truly extreme situations, like a cholera epidemic, in a desert, or in an area which does not have any reliable water supply, people have to depend on bottled water for survival. But since most people are not in these situations, they should rather opt for healthier and easily available drinking water alternatives like tap water. This is an essential step towards becoming a smarter consumer, a healthier person, and a global citizen.
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