Water. We all know it's good for us, we are constantly told we're not drinking enough of it, and we are forever adding colors, sugars and flavorings to it in an attempt to make it taste better. It helps you regulate body temperature, delivers nutrients to ours cells, metabolizes fats, and did you know that our blood is 90% water?...well last weekend my blood was 10% water 90% vodka soda with a splash of cranberry, but that's another story. However if you are like me then you probably don't give a second thought about buying bottled water. You stock it in your refrigerator for yourself and guests, and buy bottle after bottle when visiting the gym to guzzle down while you are lifting weights and burning off those love handles on the elliptical. Well it turns out that not only is our obsession with bottled water now destroying the environment, but it's destroying our bodies also. Research now shows that the chemicals found in the plastics of the bottles we are using are creating for us some serious health concerns that you need to be aware of.
If you were to ever see me at the gym, or see me busily blogging away each day, you will always see next to me an oversized bottle of Smart Water. I fill it right up to the top and ensure that I get through at least one every day. The problem with this, I have just learned, is that plastic bottles were not designed to be refilled and reused on a regular ongoing basis. You see the chemicals they use to form the plastic can leach into the water if reused for periods of time, or if the bottle is heated up. I'm not just talking about the microwave here people... while you are attracting attention in your too-short short shorts this summer, your water could be attracting chemicals from the plastic if left in the sun too long...
Benzene, a chemical found in cigarettes and fuel, is also used in the manufacturing of plastic bottles. It is found in very small quantities in the air we breathe and the water we drink and we are exposed to it everyday. However when you leave your plastic water bottle, or your soda bottle, in the sun or heat, it speeds up the production of benzene and consequent leaching of the chemical into the liquid you are about to drink. So you know those hot summer days when you leave your bottle of Diet Coke or water in the car and you go to take a sip only to find it luke warm? You will be consuming a higher concentration of Benzene, which has been confirmed as a human carcinogen (cancer causing agent) and has been known to cause anemia, as well as numerous health complications in new born babies and children
But not all plastic bottles leach chemicals. It's just unfortunate that the majority that are made for drinking water or soda do. If you turn over and have a look at the bottom of your plastic bottle you will see a number surrounded by a triangle. Every plastic has this and it identifies the type of plastic used in the bottle and whether or how it can be recycled. If it's a number 2, 4 or 5 then you are fine, the chemicals from the plastic do not leach into your liquid. But if it is a number 1, which most water bottles are made out of, including my beloved Smart Water bottle, then it is recommended for one use only and you should not refill it.
If you use one of those harder refillable plastic bottles with the number 7 at the bottom then this bottle contains a chemical known as BPA or Bisphenol A and in my opinion you should ditch it faster than last season's Louis Vuittons. BPA is known to disrupt and interfere with hormones in our bodies leading to a crazy amount of side effects such as breast cancer, prostate cancer, lower sperm counts and decreased testosterone levels in men, miscarriage, Down's Syndrome and too many more to list. All plastic drinking bottles containing the chemical have been completely banned in Europe.
If all that nasty chemical information isn't enough to swap you to stop buying bottled water, lets take a look at how it's destroying our planet:
- It takes close to 18 million barrels of oil each year just to manufacture the plastic used to make our bottles of water. That's enough oil to fuel one million cars in the US each year.
- Worldwide we use 2.7 million tons of plastic each year to manufacture water bottles.
- 24% of bottled water we buy is filtered tap water by Coca Cola and Pepsi. Just take a look at the label and see "Community water" or "Municipal Water" which means it is the same water that comes out of your faucet at home.
- Last year Americans spent over $15 Billion on bottled water
Think that all those bottles that get produced eventually make it big recycling plant in the sky? Well I hate to burst your bubble but 80% of plastic water bottles here in the United States do not get recycled, and the Container Recycling Institute (CRI) has stated that 30 million bottles of water get thrown out every day. Check out this counter from the CRI below which shows the growing number of cans and bottles that have been thrown out, not recycled, by the US just this year.
Things you can do:
- Buy a stainless steel or BPA free plastic reusable water bottle that you can refill yourself
- Use a pitcher or water filter jug to filter and use tap water
- Drink tap water - it actually is perfectly safe here in the US and some studies have shown is even less contaminated, and tastes better than some bottled waters
So I have literally just thrown out my water bottle into our recycling and am headed up to the store to look into purchasing one of those stainless steel reusable varieties and a water filter. If you too care about your health, and the health of our environment, give a second thought to buying that bottle of water at the gym, and avoid stocking your refrigerator at home with countless plastic bottles of water. Your body, and your planet, will thank you for it.
Healthy Boy x