10 Important Facts about Bottled Water

Many plastic water bottles contain chemicals called phthalates, which can leach into bottled water. Phthalates are known to disrupt testosterone and other hormones, which can lead to abnormal sexual development, male infertility, premature breast development, cancer, and miscarriages. The bottled water companies successfully opposed the FDA’s proposal to regulate phthalates in the bottled water industry.c
Bottled water is often no healthier than tap water, but it can be 10,000 times more expensive.d
Approximately 25-45% of bottled water sold in the United States actually comes from municipal sources.c
U.S. FDA regulations allow for some contamination of fecal material and E. coli in bottled water. Additionally, there are no requirements for bottled water to be tested for parasites or disinfectants. Bottled water companies are also not required to notify their customers if elevated levels of contaminants are found.e
The production of plastic water bottles in the U.S. alone creates 2.5 million tons of carbon dioxide, a key greenhouse gas responsible for global warming.a
The number of water bottles used in the U.S. each year could encircle the Earth 150 times if laid end-to-end. Less than 25% of them are recycled.b
Making a plastic bottle uses twice as much water as fits inside the bottle.c
For many bottled water companies, choosing a location with access to large markets for their company is more important than the quality of water.c
Americans empty 2.5 million plastic water bottles an hour. Each one takes 500 million years to decompose.a
In 1990, a random check of Perrier, a brand of popular bottled water, turned up traces of benzene. High levels of benzene can cause convulsions and death. The health effects at low levels are unknown.c
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  • a  Desonie, Dana. 2008. Hydrosphere: Fresh Water Systems and Pollution. New York, NY: Chelsea House.
  • b  “Lead.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. June 11, 2010. Accessed: June 11, 2010.
  • c  “Lead in Drinking Water.” U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. September 26, 2007. Accessed: June 4, 2010.
  • d  O’Conner, Anahad. “The Claim: Never Drink Hot Water from the Tap.” New York Times. January 29, 2008. Accessed: June 4, 2010.
  • e  Royte, Elizabeth. 2008. Bottlemania: How Water Went on Sale and Why We Bought It. New York, NY: Bloomsbury USA.
  • f  United States Environmental Protection Agency. 2003. Water on Tap: What You Need to Know. Darby, PA: Diane Publishing.