Friday, July 13, 2007

Oh "WATER" We to Do?

Something my friend, Sharon, posted on her blog this week really caught my attention: Should the government be able to choose whether or not we are allowed to purchase and consume bottled water? Hmm...On one hand, I like that the government was able to mandate something like the usage of trans fat free oils in restaurants in New York, but, on the other hand, I don't want them to be able to control every little detail in our lives. Going even further into the water issue, I am always afraid of what could be in my tap water. I'm constantly hearing about death and sickness being traced back to water supply contamination. I would hate to have someone force me to drink it! However, can I really be certain what is in my bottled water when so many times it has been reported that certain brands of bottled water are just bottled TAP water? And what about the fact that my beloved bottled water (yup, big bottled water drinker here!) comes in a potentially dangerous and environmentally unfriendly plastic bottle? Should I switch to drinking only glass bottled water? Should I just toss the bottled water altogether and install a filter to clean our house's water supply? If so, what type of filter is the most beneficial? The most cost efficient? Ugh!! Questions, questions, questions! On top of everything else that was already confusing me, I "happened upon" an article that really caught my attention. The article Sharon posted talks about how the Mayor of San Francisco is attempting a ban on bottled water sales in his city based on his city's having such a sparkling clean water supply. In the article I came across, The National Nonprofit Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) announced that "a review of reports from the government and from private water suppliers shows that several cities, including Albuquerque, New Mexico, and San Francisco, "have water that is so contaminated as to pose potential health risks to some consumers, particularly to pregnant women, infants, children, the elderly, and people with compromised immune systems." (!!!)

I know that things may have improved some since 2003 when this research was reported, but COME ON!!! It is so aggravating to find so many different sides to every story. What in the world are we supposed to believe? Is the water in San Francisco pristine enough to warrant a ban on bottled water sales or disgusting enough to make people sick? Who in the world can we trust and how in the world are we supposed to feel comfortable drinking half our body weight in water ounces every day? I was on a mission. My first stop was the NRDC website. There, I found a pretty basic, seemingly non-biased question and answer section about the safety of both bottled and tap water. After reading several articles on the questionable safety of both bottled and tap water, I decided that neither were perfect solutions and went on to check out different types of water filters. This opened up a whole new can of worms. I found this great site which gives information on more than ten different types of water filters. I began to be very interested in the Reverse Osmosis water filters, but THEN went on to read on several sites that RO filtered water can become dangerous if consumed over long periods of time due to the removal of minerals. People were going on and on in their articles about how detrimental it is to our health to have minerals in our drinking water. Check this out:
"Minerals are essential for the basic functions of the human body to take place. They help to control bone growth, regulate fluids, normalize nerve and muscle functions, keep up metabolism, grow connective tissues, and so much more." (at this point, I was questioning the safety of RO water--I mean, we need those minerals, right? Read on...)
"However, a big misconception is that that we obtain minerals from our drinking water. This is actually not true because, in reality, the main source of minerals is always from our food and diets, not from our drinking water. Because in order to receive enough minerals for our body, we need to drink a bathtub amount of water everyday! Not very feasible. We are sure that your doctor will not prescribe you a "bathtub of water" if you are deficient in minerals, right?" While it's true that we do need minerals to survive, the fear tactics from tap water supporters are greatly exaggerated and unneccessary on most accounts. I found this site to be very helpful in detailing the recommended daily allowances for vitamins and minerals along with giving ideas for how to live a healthy lifestyle through diet and exercise.

So, what conclusion did I reach? Well, any filter is better than no filter...neither bottled nor tap water get a clean bill of safety, even from the most non-biased reporters...& with today's devious marketing strategies, you can't really trust anyone, but yourself. For us, a water filter seems to be the best solution. I hope to have one installed soon (most likely the Reverse Osmosis type), but I'd also like to mention one more solution for people who'd like to continue drinking bottled water: Check out the Penta Water website. It seems like they've thought of just about everything a bottled water company should think of!

Okay, (PHEW!) I am done with my rant for the day. If you have a chance to read all of this and visit any of the sites (or if you even care about the whole water issue :o), let me know what you think!


Sharon said...

I also find it incredibly frustrating...for every pro to drinking bottled water, there is a con to find, as well. It's enough to make me go insane! (too late!) I will absolutely NOT drink plain old tap water. Yuck. After drinking the tap in Greenville and then Steubenville, I am paranoid. GROSS water in those cities!

I care about the environment, and when at home will buy the gallons and drink from my glass. But I always have the bottles, too.

I love the filter idea. I'd go that route if we weren't renting and had the freedom to do so. (damn landlords!) It will probably be one of thr 1st things I look to do when we buy our house.

Do you think you are really finished w/ bottled now? Have YOU ever tried the Penta? I know stroes near us that sell it. I think I'll try it.

Good post. You'll have to update after your filter is installed!

Jennifer said...

Sharon--I still like having bottles tto drag around on errands and stuff--I tried a canteen-type thing when I was pregnant, but I always forgot it or lost it or left it filled with something that made it smell bad--ha ha ha! Did you know Greenville brags about it's water, too? Always tastes like pool water to me! Most of the filters we've seen are sink filters and pretty reasonably priced so we'll start there while renting (no point in going all out just to leave it here, right?) BTW--Read stuff about the dangers of chlorine when you have a free sec :o)

alchi126 said...


I stumbled across your blog while researching for a project I'm doing for work and it looks like you may have misunderstood Mayor Newsom's water ban. He isn't banning the sale or consumption of bottled water in San Francisco, he's banning the use of city funding to buy bottled water and the sale of bottled water in city buildings. Essentially, the only people that are affected are city employees, and even then it only means they're not getting free bottled water or that they can't buy it on government property. Nowhere in the ban does it mention they cannot buy it somewhere else or bring their own bottled water. The question isn't whether or not the government should be able to choose whether we are allowed to purchase and consume bottled water, but whether or not the government has an obligation to purchase bottled water for its employees. In no way is our government closing in on the private sector about bottled water, beyond the media hype and all the advertisement going on about it, that is.

As far as how clean the tap water is, I haven't done any research on that, so your guess is better than mine.

and I'm sorry, I don't mean to call you out on this, but I've been seeing this in blogs and article responses all over the place and I don't like people misinformed about what's happening.

Jennifer said...

Thanks for the info Alchi! I always like to make sure I have the right info! :o) Shows how fast rumors get started, right? ;o) I'll go back and edit that part out of my huge term-paper blog and set the record straight--It was more about which type of water I want my family to drink--My friend's blog sparked the thought with a mention of the article. Thanks again :o)