With the weather finally getting warmer, see if this scenario is familiar to you: We’re going on a family drive. My wife says to put some bottles of water in the car. We go on the drive and drink some of the water, leaving the remaining bottles in the car where it gets hot. My wife tells me to throw out those water bottles, because they’re “bad.” Repeat with every trip.
She’s right in one sense. The heat probably has compromised the water in the bottles, leaching nasty stuff from the plastic. But that didn’t happen in my car. That happened before we even bought the water!
The long trip for a plastic water bottle, from a natural spring (or a tap, where most bottled water comes from) to your hands, is not refrigerated. The bottles are filled and sealed. They’re put on pallets. And they are shipped in a hot truck to a warehouse, where they are stored (un-refrigerated) until they are delivered (via hot truck) to a regional warehouse, where it is stored (un-refrigerated) until it is delivered (via hot truck) to your local store, where it is held on the loading dock in the blazing sun until it can be stored in the back un-refrigerated, then brought out to the storefront where you buy it and put it in your hot car until you get home.
And the trip is even longer for water that comes from overseas: stored in the cargo holds of ships, left sitting out on docks, etc.
The answer for your health as well as the environment is simple: stop buying drinking water in plastic bottles! Sure, you can buy water in BPA-free plastic, but now there’s evidence that BPA substitutes are just as bad for your health as BPA. The better answer is to buy a filter, if you don’t already have one in your sink or fridge, and bring your own water with you in a stainless steel or glass container. My container of choice is a glass bottle with a protective silicone sleeve. It’s called Takeya and you can find it at Amazon.
In addition to the heat factor, bottled water is bad for other reasons: you don’t know how old the water is…and you don’t know the treatment process used to disinfect the water. Most municipal water sources, which supply most bottled water manufacturers, use a chlorine treatment of the water to disinfect it. Unfortunately, chlorine disinfection produces what’s called disinfection-by-products or DBPs in the water. Some DBPs have been shown to increase the risk of cancer and other illnesses.
We’re supposed to be drinking more water because it’s good for us, right? I’m going to start by drink better water.