I feel like I’m a relatively informed person when it comes to choosing bottled water. I’ve kept up with the news on how to read the labels, making sure the bottled water I’m buying has the #1 PET or PETE symbol on the bottom, (which the government has deemed safe.) So when I came across an article in “First for women” magazine (titled ‘Is Your Water Bottle Making You Tired,’ from the July 14, 2014 edition,) that stated, “Researchers reporting in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives tested 455 plastic products and found that 95% released chemicals. When it comes to bottled water, those chemicals are leaching into every sip you take,” I was a bit alarmed. I’m getting chemicals every single time I take a sip? We do, I admit, drink bottled water more than we should (instead of making our own,) and in the summer, we do so even more. So, I wanted to check the facts out and see if there was anything I could do to ensure my bottled water was the safest it could possibly be.
Part of the article also stated the chemicals in bottled water could actually make you tired and gain weight, which is certainly not a side-effect I’m looking for…especially when we know water is essential to good health. The article states, “Granted, the amounts of chemicals that leach from each plastic bottle is small, but they can still have serious effects. ‘These chemicals can disrupt the endocrine system and interfere with the functioning of every cell in the body,’ says Paula Baillie-Hamilton, M.D.,PH.D., author of Toxic Overload. ‘They can cause a range of health problems that include fatigue and weight gain, as well as cancer and other diseases.‘”
Disposable water bottles are made of PET or PETE. PET stands for polyethylene terephthalate, which is designated by a recyclable “1” on the bottle. According to factsonpet.com, these bottles are safe.
WHO REGULATES BOTTLED WATER?
The FDA, Food and Drug Administration regulates bottled water. AllAboutWater.com offers this informative article on standards and regulations for bottled water…
TO SIP OR NOT TO SIP?
So seriously, what’s a person to do? I personally have enough other things I’m doing to my body that aren’t healthy without worrying about the bottled water I’m drinking. Drink more water…but wait, each sip could interfere with the functioning of every cell in the body? Is there anything I can do to make my bottled water safer?
In the “First for women” article, there were a few suggestions that could possibly make your bottled water safer to drink and perhaps ease your mind a bit. I don’t personally know if these suggestions REALLY make a difference since I’m not a researcher but they are easy enough to do and could actually save you money. And if they help prevent added fatigue or weight gain, hey, I’m all for it.
Here’s the “First for women” recommendations…
CHECK THE DATE & CONDITION OF THE BOTTLE
Check the “best by” date. The longer water sits in a PET bottle, the more toxic the water can become as chemicals continue to leach. They suggest you limit exposure by drinking water that’s been in the bottle for no more than one year. Most bottles have a “best by” date that’s actually 2 years after the day the water was bottled so they advise you subtract 1 year from that date before drinking it. Furthermore, the article recommends you only use disposable water bottles one time and since wear and tear can increase leaching, don’t buy dented or dinged bottles.
KEEP IT COLD
Heat speeds plastic breaking down, which increases the release of chemicals. So don’t leave your bottled water in a hot car. Simple enough. Studies done show that bottled water exposed to a temperature of 158 degrees farenheit, after 12 days, can contain the heavy metal, antimony, that can cause gastrointestinal problems. And it’s best to hand-wash reusable plastic bottles since dishwasher heat can cause plastic to degrade.
If you fill a stainless-steel bottle with filtered tap water, you can better ensure you’re not getting the leached chemicals from the plastic water bottles and you’ll save money (not to mention, help keep the landfills from overflowing.) Of course you want to make sure your tap water is safe. The EWA, Environmental Working Group has a “Guide to Safe Drinking Water” that can help you with that.
You can find fairly inexpensive water filters for your faucets or pick up the pitchers with a filtration system built-in to them. We personally like the Brita brand, which does the trick for us and isn’t expensive.
Again, I don’t know if bottled water can give you cancer, make you tired, or even gain weight but if a few little precautions can prevent it, and it doesn’t cost me extra time or money, why not?