In an attempt to live more naturally (and closer to nature) I have been looking for areas in my life where I can cut out unnecessary chemical exposure and of course do what’s best for our planet. Living greener is complicated and the entire system is interconnected and complex. Sometimes I don’t know which option is best. Below is a dilemma I’m facing regarding water safety. If you are knowledgeable in these areas, please share your insights in the comments.
Which is safer? Bottled water or tap water?
Bisphenol A (BPA) is an industrial chemical used in packaging. More specifically, it’s is used in the manufacturing of polycarbonate plastics (like plastic water bottles, food can liners, etc.) BPAs have been linked to breast and prostate cancers, endocrine disruption and possibly miscarriages and birth defects. Many countries have banned the chemical for some uses (mainly baby products) including all European counties, Canada, China, Malaysia and US but chemical exposure remains widespread. The CDC says that it turned up in the urine of more than 90% of American’s tested in 2009.
“A 2008 report by the U.S. National Toxicology Program (NTP) found “some concern for effects on the brain, behavior, and prostate gland in fetuses, infants, and children at current human exposures to bisphenol A,” with that exposure coming from PC baby bottles and infant cups.” –Packaging Digest
Not-so FUN FACT: BPAs are concentrated in thermal paper (the paper receipts are printed on). It quickly and easily transfers through the skin into the blood stream. Check out the documentary Plastic Paradise (It’s on Netflix). Journalist Angela Sun is tested for BPA exposure squeezes a receipt for a few moments and is tested again. The results are startling.
Filtered Refrigerator Water: The tubes that run from your source water to your through your refrigerator are largely polycarbonate. Doesn’t this mean that water sitting in the system is absorbing BPAs? Is it safer to drink directly from the tap? I’m no so sure.
The Tap: In the past I’ve favored tap water. I figure if I can keep sensitive aquarium fish alive in it, it probably won’t kill me (quickly). But the fact is our water is heavily treated with variety of different chemicals depending on the municipality and may contain many other harmful items. There can be chlorine (toxic) and chloramines, arsenic, fluoride (the risks have been debated for the last 65 years), lead, and many more. We put a lot of faith in our government to keep us safe but the truth is you can request a copy of your annual water report (or simply download it) and see they go over the safety limits for dangerous compounds.
As you can see, there is much to consider. ∞