By Janny Adamson
Do you just turn on the tap and trust that your water is safe to drink? Or, like millions, do you grab your favorite bottled water and think that is a better source of clean water?
As summer turns up the heat, it’s time to navigate our water choices.
Surprisingly, our tap water is more consistently regulated than bottled water produced in this country. Yet, both water sources have challenges when it comes to purity.
The Environmental Protection Agency oversees all municipal drinking water and has more strict standards than the FDA, which governs bottled water. Up to 45% of bottled water in our country begins as tap water.
And bottled water is big business. Sixteen billion gallons sold in 2022 generated $72 billion just in the U.S. The bigger cost, of course, is to our environment, and possibly our health.
We know the lifecycle of plastic bottles leaves a huge carbon footprint that has been contributing to climate change, and adversely affecting many birds and marine mammals.
What is less well-known is the way that plastic water bottles can also contain microplastics, bacteria, and other chemicals. Something few of us may also consider is how long these plastic bottles get stored, and how hot the plastic gets when being transported. Heated plastic can be toxic.
As someone who has grabbed many a quick plastic bottle of water in years past, I have recently been discovering what the better options are that we can choose. It turns out there is good reason to be informed about our water quality with this life-sustaining liquid.
Unfiltered water may contain harmful metals, pesticides, and chemicals that don’t break down (PFAS). Before we start grabbing our favorite cocktail out of fear, there are purified water sources and systems to consider.
For home use, it seems the best current method for ridding ourselves of major contaminants in our drinking water is to use a Reverse Osmosis filtration system. If you’re not ready for a whole house filtering system, it can be as simple as a faucet-mounted, or even an RO-filtered pitcher for the fridge. Some are certified to remove up to 99% of “forever chemicals,” too.
When on the go and in a hurry, I have found more grocery stores are now stocking both aluminum- and glass-bottled water to help us transition from our habitual plastic.
Best practice? Filling the same sports bottle with home-filtered water is the most economical and planet-friendly choice of all. Even taking small steps collectively can make a big difference in our future.
Janny Adamson is California native and resident of San Clemente, working in design sales and becoming a more eco-aware climate activist.