Safe Water is Our Right

August 28, 2009


A new documentary, Tapped , is being shown for a week in NYC at the IFC Center starting today. Made by the director and producers who brought us Who Killed the Electric Car, this film takes a look at the history of bottled water and the strange path it has taken more recently including the unregulated and quality of water issues and the political and ownership battles over water.

Frightening and sadly true facts are presented like only 20 percent of plastic water bottles used in the United States are recycled, and far too many of the rest probably end up in the Pacific Garbage Patch (a floating island of plastic waste the size of Rhode Island and growing). Not only does bottled water create physical waste, but also causes the waste of consumer dollars. Many are paying more than the price of gasoline for water that’s marketed as “pure,” but in reality is largely unregulated, full of harmful toxins like BPA, and far less safe for drinking than free tap water.

According to Claire Thompson’s article from August 3 in Grist Magazine: the film  “succeeds at making the industry reps look like total jerks. A few too many mid-interview cutaways to Soechtig looking concerned came off as a little journalistically self-important, but Tapped does a solid job of covering every aspect of this damaging industry and inspiring more outrage than despair. It features interviews with the likes of Atlanta mayor Shirley Franklin and Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), not to mention some footage of Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) tearing into an FDA rep at a government hearing.”

So, does this film preach to the converted? Will enough people see this and be moved to NEVER buy bottled water again? It is very sad that so many people feel trapped; they will not drink the water that is provided by our government because although it will not make you sick (because it is bacteriologically safe), it can make you sick other ways so what else can they do but buy a bottle of water! Which do you do when faced with that choice? Clearly a point of use filtration system in our homes is key. What do you do when you run out of water in your stainless steel water bottle?

It is raining, and I know that even the water falling from the sky may not be safe to drink.

Via: Organic Consumers



A newly released study has shown that drinking from polycarbonate bottles increased the level of urinary Bisphenol A (BPA), and thus suggests that drinking containers made with BPA release the chemical into the liquid that people drink in sufficient amounts to increase the level of BPA excreted in human urine. The study was done through the Harvard School of Public Health.

Translation:Plastic refillable water bottles are leaching toxic chemicals into your clean drinking water. 

Here is the very sad and scary part: In addition to polycarbonate bottles, which are refillable and a popular container among students, campers and others and are also used as baby bottles, BPA is also found in dentistry composites and sealants and in the lining of aluminum food and beverage cans. (In bottles, polycarbonate can be identified by the recycling number 7.) Numerous studies have shown that it acts as an endocrine-disruptor in animals, including early onset of sexual maturation, altered development and tissue organization of the mammary gland and decreased sperm production in offspring. It may be most harmful in the stages of early development.

“We found that drinking cold liquids from polycarbonate bottles for just one week increased urinary BPA levels by more than two-thirds. If you heat those bottles, as is the case with baby bottles, we would expect the levels to be considerably higher. This would be of concern since infants may be particularly susceptible to BPA’s endocrine-disrupting potential,” said Karin B. Michels, associate professor of epidemiology at HSPH and Harvard Medical School and senior author of the study.

Sippy cups and baby bottles containing BPA’s have been banned in Canada already.  Many states are considering banning it, too, so this study comes at a very auspicious time. It has been shown that drinking hot liquids or heating plastic bottles can cause even more leaching. A related article reveals the work of Scott Belcher, PhD and a team at University of Cinncinnati which details the impact of heat on the plastic leaching and the suspicions the scientific community has about the toxic effects on humans.

Hats off to first author Jenny Carwile, a doctoral student in the department of epidemiology at HSPH and Karin Michels.

What are the alternatives? Stainless steel refillable bottles. Glass bottles. Try,, and your local natural foods store.

For baby bottles and pacifiers that are BPA-free try  and