What’s the best selling soft drink in the UK today? You guess it, bottled water and in 2017 we drank more than three billion litres of it during the course of the year even though it cost more than one-thousand times the price of the exact same liquid that comes out of the tap at home.
Two questions arise, why do we drink so much bottled water? And secondly is bottled water any better for you that tap water? This may come to a shock to you but in 97% of locations across the UK, there is no evidence to suggest that bottle water is any better for you than tap water and therefore the
What’s the difference between Bottled and Tap Water?
In 80% of cases, both Tap and Bottled water comes from exactly the same place with the key difference being how it’s treated. Yes there are examples where bottled water comes from springs and other pristine sources, but for the majority of water on the market, the sources are the same. Two thirds of water in the UK comes from surface storage such as rivers, lakes and reservoirs with the rest from ground water that store rainwater.
Once the water has been extracted from a river for example, its treated and purified before be bottled and sold to us. In the UK, bottling companies are not required by law to reveal the process or the source of their water meaning that you cannot be sure where you’re bottled water came from and what’s actually been done to it.
There are examples across the internet where spring water that has been labelled as pure spring water actually came from a public water source in Alaska.
Tap water typically comes from the same place that bottled water comes from with the only difference being that tap water does contain a small amount of chlorine which you usually cannot taste, but does make it more resistant to bacteria growth.
Myths About Tap Water
Tap Water Contains Oestrogen that has been passed through the kidneys of other drinker before you. This is a great example of total rubbish. Firstly water has to be treated before it’s released back into natural water systems and by the time the entire water cycle has been completed, any toxins that these treatments have missed will be taken out of the water.
Is Bottled Water Actually Safe?
Of course it is, it’s been treated, cleaned and purified to make sure to perfect for consumption – is the line that always seems to crop up when this subject comes up in conversation.
My usual response is to ask the drinker if they know this for sure since bottlers do not have to by law put their ingredients on the bottle or release the process to make their bottled water, how can you be so sure? There is also a problem with testing given that it’s not controlled by a centralise board in the UK, but by minor testing agents and I am concerned at what level they can actually test bottled water for.
Recent studies have shown that some brands of bottled water does contained both bacterial and chemical contaminants to include carcinogens and phthalates, and whilst the bottles themselves are made from polyethylene terephthalate which are generally safe, scientists have warned against storing plastic bottle in temperatures above 20 degrees as the plastic may leach chemicals in the water.
In small doses all of these chemical are not harmful to the body, but will start to build up over the years if you only drink bottled water. Exposure to high levels of phthalates for example have been linked to low sperm counts whilst carcinogens are endocrine distrupters which means they block hormones in the body.
Should You Change To Tap Water?
Whether you should change your drinking habits and only drink tap water is not for me to decide. I can only present the facts, it’s your choice to make however here are a few things that I would recommend you do.
If you’re in the habit of buying bottled water, try to carry in around in a stainless steel container. This way if you do leave it in your car for extended periods on time, it does not matter. We specifically like the stainless steel versions from Klean Kanteen and New Wave Enviro.