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The Waste of Bottled Water in America

February 25, 2006 | 15,937 views

Global consumption of bottled water increased by more than 57 percent to 41 billion gallons in 2004.

America drank the most bottled water total, consuming nearly 7 billion gallons, which amounts to one 8-ounce glass of bottled water for each American every day. Italians led the pack in bottled water consumption per person, drinking roughly twice as much apiece, on average.

100,000 Cars for a Year

The rise in demand for bottled water is leading to an increase in associated energy use.

Bottled water costs more fossil fuels to transport than tap water, and it also takes 1.5 million barrels of oil each year to create enough polyethylene terephthalate plastic to make the bottles. That  amount of oil could fuel about 100,000 cars for a year.

A Millennium to Degrade

In addition, 86 percent of plastic water bottles used in the United States become garbage or litter. These bottles can take up to 1,000 years to finally biodegrade.

Causing Shortages

In some places, water extraction for bottled water has caused water shortages. This problem has occurred in over 50 villages in India, and also in Texas and the Great Lakes region.




Dr. Mercola's Comments:


One of the most important health habits you can have is to limit your toxic exposures by having a relialbe source of clean water. That means avoiding nearly all unfiltered municipal water supplies as they are loaded with chlorine and fluoride. Many don't realize that it is also environmentally wise to avoid bottled water too.

It is important to pay careful attention to how your water is stored. In terms of containers, my first choice is glass. However, glass simply is not practical for traveling due to its weight and risk of breaking.

One needs to be careful of the type of plastic you use as many are potentially dangerous. Conventional Nalgene bottles sholud be avoided.

I use the wide-mouth Nalgene bottles that are made from safer plastic. I found them at http://www.campmor.com/. The wide mouth allows them to be easily cleaned so they don't accumulate bacteria. I bring my water to my office with me in a glass container, as that is better. It is just difficult to travel with glass due to the obvious safety reasons.

As for the water itself ... drinking enough water is essential to your health. It's best to sip the water throughout the day, rather than consuming large quantities at once. If you drink a quart of water at a time most of the water will pass through your body before you're able to use it.

It's imperative that you drink pure water -- if the water you are drinking is contaminated then you are harming yourself. Your best bet to ensure a clean and affordable water source is to filter your own water at home.

Please don't fool yourself into thinking that you can tell your water is safe by the way it looks, tastes, or smells. Some contaminants in water are so harmful that they are measured in "parts per million" or "parts per billion." In other words, just a drop of these poisons added to gallons and gallons of water can be very harmful.

Just installing a filter to purify your drinking water may not be enough. You could still be exposed to contaminated water when you:

  1. Shower or bathe
  2. Wash your hands
  3. Wash laundry
  4. Rinse fruits and vegetables
  5. Wash dishes, glasses, and other utensils

My staff has been investigating water filter units for the last three years and hopefully later this year we will be able to share our recommendations with you.



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