The trouble with bottled water, experts say, is not the water. It’s the plastic bottles the water comes in that are potentially harmful to our health and environment.
The folks at the Mayo Clinic say we need to be concerned about BPA, often used in containers that store food and beverages, such as water bottles. Exposure to BPA, they say, is a concern because of possible health effects on the brain, behavior and prostate gland of fetuses, infants and children. The FDA suggests that very low-level exposure to BPA is safe, however, the agency is engaged in ongoing research.
Health issues are one thing, but the effect on the environment is another. According to the EPA, in 2010, the U.S. generated 31 million tons of plastic waste. This is becoming such a problem that Concord, Mass., recently became the first municipality in the nation to ban the sale of single-serving water bottles. San Francisco, Calif., may implement one of the strictest bottled water bans in the country if its Board of Supervisors approves a proposal to ban its sale on public property.
And if health and environment issues aren’t enough to give us pause, single-serve bottled water is not that great for your wealth.
So what are the alternatives? Here they are for your consideration:
Tap water. You’re already paying for it and, given the laws in the U.S. that regulate safe drinking water, what comes out of your kitchen tap may be just dandy.
Refrigerator pitcher. If your tap water, while safe, doesn’t taste very good, consider a simple filter pitcher that you keep in the refrigerator. The PUR dispenser (everydaycheapskate.com/pur) gets excellent reviews, is affordable and is quite attractive, too. Take a look at the Brita water filter pitcher (everydaycheapskate.com/brita) as well.
Reverse osmosis. We’ve tested and tried every kind of drinking water option in our home and finally went for a reverse osmosis system. This is a system that we installed under our kitchen sink and provides a continuous supply of delicious water to drink, to make ice and also use in cooking. Given the cost of hauling jugs and bottles of water out of stores and then dealing with the empty containers, we believe that our RO system paid for itself in less than a year. It’s trouble-free and quite awesome.
Every day I fill my water bottle and find that I drink a lot more water just because this bottle is so convenient, handy and pretty cool, too.
Mary Hunt is founder of www.DebtProofLiving.com.