Drink water from safe containers (Opinion)

Thursday, February 10, 2011 by: Carlos Greene
Tags: water, bottles, health news

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(NaturalNews) Water constitutes roughly sixty percent of the human body. The maintenance of water levels is necessary to avoid dehydration and critical for the survival of human life. Modern industry, however, has placed humans in a precarious position related to this essential ingredient of life. In consumer-based society, it is difficult to determine the best water source and from which container to drink it.

Tap water in the United States is often fluoridated, chlorinated and/or contaminated with pharmaceuticals, biological organisms, and industrial pollutants. Check with your municipal water provider to determine if fluoride or chlorine is added to your water. Filtration systems, from the basic to the more advanced reverse osmosis and ionizers, can remove some additives and contaminants. It is important to understand that filtration does not remove all contaminants and sometimes strips beneficial minerals.

Bottled water often comes directly from a municipal source. Check your bottled water for source information. It requires petroleum for packaging and transportation, and ultimately rests in a landfill. Plastic is even found in the oceans, where it enters the food chain when eaten by fish. Bottled water is expensive to the consumer in cost and to the ecosystems of the world in destruction; plastics are not bio-degradable.

In response to tap and bottled water confusion, many people choose to keep five-gallon water dispensers in their home. But even this choice can carry risk; the water is typically stored in plastic containing Bisphenol A (BPA). BPA is an endocrine system disruptor that mimics estrogen. It is linked to breast cancer, decreased testosterone, and imbalanced hormone levels, among a host of other maladies for the human body. Infants and children are most especially devastated by BPA, which is often found in baby bottles and sippie cups.

All recycled plastic containers are labeled with a resin identification code (RIC), a number between one and seven that identifies the plastic used in the container. The number helps denote which plastics are appropriate for drinking, eating, and food storage. When using plastic containers of any kind, pay attention to the RIC.

Bottled water is typically packaged in #1 containers. #1 plastic can be used once but risks bacteria growth with further use. If you must use plastic for drink or food consumption, find #2 HDPE (high density polyethylene), #4 LDPE (low density polyethylene), or #5 PP (polypropylene) recycled plastic containers.

Some key points are below:
- Tap water is the best water source option, except in cases of extreme contamination. Filtration will help remove some of the additives and contaminants.
- Drinking from glass containers is always preferable to plastic. If using a water machine, a five-gallon glass carboy works well (though be aware that glass will break).
- Beware of the RIC on plastic containers used for drinking and eating, most especially for babies and children.
- Only use plastics #2, #4, and #5 for human and animal consumption. These plastics are considered safe from BPA-leaching and other possible contaminants. Again though, glass is preferable.
- Bottled water is neither better for your health nor good for the environment.

Making conscious choices about water containers (or other beverage or food containers) may require research, thought, energy, and time. But the effort is minimal compared to the health benefits provided by the best possible water to you and the people and animals in your life. Enjoy your water from a glass container and avoid BPA-leaching plastics. Your body and those around you will surely appreciate it.



Guide to plastic RIC numbers:

About the author

Carlos Greene is engaged in multiple issues across the spectrum of public policy. He is a writer, organic gardener, and lover of music.

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