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Water: Bamboozled by Bottled

How much do you spend on bottled water? If you buy certain brands thinking the water is cleaner or safer, experts say you may as well be pouring money down the drain because some brands of bottled water are actually just tap water.

Physician Jane Sadler says, "There is no guarantee that bottled water is any better than tap water. 25% of bottled water is actually just repackaged tap water." Also, what kind of plastic is the bottle made out of?

Bottled water is regulated by the FDA, but when it's packaged and sold in the same state?which is the case with around 60% of bottled waters?it becomes exempt from FDA regulations. Sadler says, "In fact, it's been shown some bottled waters do not meet EPA standards so you really have to be careful in your selection of bottled waters. Make sure you know the company that?s producing it." It's also important to pay attention to the how the water is processed. "Be sure that you're getting water that?s been distilled or that's been processed through reverse osmosis."

But filling your cup at the tap can be just as clean and healthy. Sadler says, "We know that tap water is highly regulated by the EPA and we know that tap water is generally safe."

Also, how you store your bottled water is critical. Water should not be kept at anything above room temperature. Leaving water for days in a hot car for instance can cause bacteria in the water to multiply.

Does recycling those plastic water bottles cost more money than it saves? Each year, about 29 billion plastic water bottles are produced in the US and almost 3 million plastic bottles go into US landfills annually. A recent study shows that major cities could gain $200 a ton for recycling instead of dumping. But the recycling process uses fuel, which is now at a record high. On the other hand, oil is used to MAKE plastic in the first place.

LiveScience.com quotes researcher Jerry Powell as saying that what we need is "less plastic. Not just recycling." Will we ever return to washing and refilling glass bottle, like we did in the past? Stay tuned to find out what happens in the future.

Art credit: freeimages.co.uk

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