Sustainability Tip: bottled water might not actually be cleaner than regular tap water
Did you know that some people are spending more than 10,000 times more money per gallon for bottled water than they would for tap water? Recently, public concerns about tap-water quality have led to booming bottled water sales. However, the federal government does not require bottled water to be safer than tap water.
According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, tap water in most big cities must be disinfected, filtered to remove pathogens and tested for cryptosporidium and giardia viruses. Bottled water is not subject to these regulations. For example, bottled-water plants must test for coliform bacteria just once a week — city tap needs to be tested 100 or more times a month. An NRDC study from 1999 found that 25-30% of water sold in plastic bottles is city tap water.
Avoiding plastic water bottles is better for the health of the planet, but it is also beneficial to your health. Join Walking Mountains’ Plastic Free July Pledge @ walkingmountains.org/plasticfree to help reduce your plastic consumption, post how you are reducing plastic waste, and learn what others are doing to be part of.
Here are three tips for drinking safe water and protecting our environment.
1. Learn what type of water is coming out of your tap. Call your state drinking-water program or the Environmental Protection Agency’s Safe Drinking Water Hotline (800-426-4791) for a list of contacts.
2. Buy a certified NSF water filter for your tap at home. Your water report will point out possible risks to health; fortunately, a home filter designed explicitly to strip contaminants will resolve most cases.
3. Ditch the plastic water bottles and drink out of a reusable container that you can fill up at home or on the go.
Stephen Beane is an Actively Green intern at Walking Mountains Science Center. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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