Dangers of Bottled Water
The use of bottled water as opposed to tap water is widely promoted by the companies marketing it. Bottled water has become more and more a “fashion trend,” if the word “fashion” should be used in the same context as health.The water is mostly sold in plastic bottles and that’s where the inherent dangers come from. One point however must be made, although it’s beyond the scope of this article. The huge amount of plastic generated to produce the bottles and discarded afterwards, is not good for the environment.
The production process of plastic can lead to the release of chemical substances into the water contained in the bottles. From there, the chemicals are absorbed into the body, where they can cause harm. The dangers of bottled water can be classified into chemical, microbial and physical. Chemical refers to the release of such poisonous substances as arsenic, lead or benzene. Microbial hazards are viruses, bacteria or parasites and physical can be tiny fragments of glass, metal or plastic which can find their way into the bottled water.
The chemical and microbial dangers can cause campylobacter infection which is the most widespread cause of bacterial gastroenteritis. Although it’s highly unlikely that any of the above may lead to fatal illness, it can cause discomfort, cramps, diarrhea and sickness.
Health risks can also result from inappropriate storage. Bacteria can multiply if the water is kept on the shelves for too long or if it is exposed to heat or direct sunlight. It’s very difficult to determine when a bottle you buy in the supermarket has been filled. Even if contamination has occurred, the effects depend on the quantity of water consumed.
The U.S. have a high standard of control and regulation laws as far as the production and supervision of bottled water is concerned, but the safety regulations for drinking water are even more strident. The same standards apply to the European Union, but many other countries are less strict. Information on the safety of drinking water is readily available locally, so there is no reason to prefer bottled water over tap water, However if you happen to live in or visit a country where tap water is unsafe, bottled water is the only sensible alternative.
Advantages of Bottled Water
A bottle of water is easily carried around. Hydration during exercise, particularly running or jogging is a must and a water bottle comes in handy.. As long as the water is sold in glass bottles, and many designer waters are, possibly none of the chemical hazards apply. A word of caution: Bacteria can find their way into glass bottles as well. The biggest advantage of drinking bottled water is probably the taste. If you like sparkling mineral water, that’s of course only available in a bottle.
Tap water is sterilized and disinfected by the use of chlorine which is released into the body by drinking it. On the one hand, the chlorine absorbed by the body also disinfects the blood, iOn the other hand, it may attack positive immune enhancing micro organisms and weaken the body’s immune system. This danger is avoided by the use of bottled water. However, the most important reason for favoring bottled water over chlorinated tap water is probably the taste, which sometimes can be very strong. If the taste is disliked or the flavor of a specific spring is preferred, then the use of bottled water in a healthy diet is called for.
Summarizing, it can be said that there is no compulsive reason why bottled water should necessarily be included in a healthy diet. It’s more or less a question of location, taste and, in the current economic situation, also of money. As long as the required daily intake of 2 liters of liquid, preferably in the form of water, is consumed, the choice of bottled water over tap water is a personal one.