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Bottled water has been shown in research to be no healthier or purer than normal tap water.
In 50% of bottled water, the only difference is salts and minerals, which have zero effect, or possibly a negative effect. Bottled water is often to be sold as an energy drink, which is rather contradictory. There is a range of 'holistic' sports waters which are supposed to contain magical water. These are even more expensive that normal expensive bottled water.
There are huge environmental costs associated with bottled water, such as the impact of water abstraction on the local environment, the usually plastic packaging of the product, resource use and pollution from the transportation of bottled waters, and the disposal of the waste packaging once the water has been consumed.
The UK's Consumer Council for Water (CCW) is encouraging restaurants to serve tap water instead of expensive bottled water, with a kitemark accreditation symbol. Thames Water with 13 million customers is also launching a campaign to get restaurants to serve tap water.
Britons drink 3 billion bottles of water a year. Half a billion are shipped or flown in from abroad, contributing about 33,200 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions - the same as 6000 homes.
In a recent blind tasting test, tap water came third, against very expensive bottled waters. Some restaurants charge over 3.50 GBP for a 35 pence bottle of water. 70% of customers think bottled water is too expensive. 9 out of 10 restaurants push customers to buy bottled water.
An adult drinking 8 glasses of water a day would spend only one pound on tap water, but 500 pounds on bottled water, plus a large environmental cost.
And think of the waste of money that could be used to help people or wildlife. Worldwide, consumers spent $100 billion on bottled water in 2005.-->
Each year more than 4 billion pounds of PET plastic bottles end up in landfills or as roadside litter.
Making bottles to meet Americans' demand for bottled water required the equivalent of more than 17 million barrels of oil in 2006 - enough fuel for more than 1 million U.S. cars for a year - and generated more than 2.5 million tons of carbon dioxide.
Bottled water is not required to list its chemical or bacteriological content so consumers are unable to see how it compares to tap water or other water products. It is over 500 times more expensive than perfectly safe mains tap water which is subject to stringent safety controls.
There are even toxins in the plastic which leach into the water, especially if there is any damage to the bottle such as at the neck. In fact some doctors, especially in the US, are advising pregnant women not to use plastic bottles as they release bisphenol A, which can disrupt cell division, leading to spontaneous miscarriages and birth defects such as Downs Syndrome. This follows advice from the National Toxicology Program part of the National Institute of Health in the US.
The Chartered Institute of Water and Environmental Management UK advises against using bottled water in baby bottles as tap water is safer.
The House of Commons released figures showing that, in 2004, it spent over £11,000 a week on bottled water. That is tax-payers' money! There is now a Commission to look into it, reporting in 2018.