Choosing the purest water: it shouldnÕt be about the container

part one


The bottled water industry has come under a great deal of scrutiny these past few weeks as a product of questionable worth and I find myself asking why, and whoÕs behind this big push? The charges range from producers bottling water from local sources without informing the consumer, that millions of barrels of oil are used in the production of the bottles to the biggest slap of all, that bottled water is no more pure than tap water. 

When one considers how many people in the world do not have a safe source of drinking water we have to consider ourselves lucky. A drink from the tap here in America will not infect you with a water-borne disease the likes of cholera. The savior of course is chlorine. Many Americans, including myself, grew up on tap water and believed that the taste of chlorine signified its purity and safety. Does your body require any certain amount of chlorine to remain healthy or is it just another chemical the body is forced to detoxify?

ÒChlorinated water contains chemical compounds which are known carcinogens and do not degrade well once in the bodyÓ says Dr. Z. Rona, MD MSc. The end product of chlorine, organochlorides are then stored in the fatty tissues of the body, including breast tissue, motherÕs milk and semen. Chlorinated water also destroys much of the intestinal flora, the friendly bacteria that helps in the digestion of food and protects the body from harmful pathogens. Chlorine has been known to aggravate asthma, suppress immunity and cause various kinds of eczema, skin irritation and itching. 

And what of fluorination of the drinking water? Once thought to prevent tooth decay any purported benefits of fluoridation are in scientific controversy. The chemicals used in fluoridation are not pharmaceutical grade, but rather are byproducts of aluminum and fertilizer manufacturing. The process of fluorination does not have FDA approval and is considered an unapproved drug. The proper use of any drug requires an understanding of how much and then only with the permission of the person using the drug.

If that isnÕt enough, areas like Galesburg with older homes, including my own 1911 beauty have lead intake pipes from the street. The water department does not try to hide this, thank you, and sends friendly reminders in the water bill with tips on how to reduce lead consumption. In fairness to the city and the water department I do believe they have a partial reimbursement program should you choose to dig up those lead pipes and replace themÉ cost, approximately $8,000.

I take no argument with the ability of water departments across America to purify our water. I just canÕt bring myself to ingest chlorine, fluoride and possibly lead when I have a choice.

Hands down, I choose bottled water and strongly recommend only bottled water to all of my clients. The years I taught nutrition and herb therapy I would explain to the occasional reluctant student with this analogy, if you wanted to whitewash a wall, you wouldnÕt start with a bucket of dirty water.

A final thought, why isnÕt anyone complaining about all the other plastic containers we use and discard? ItÕs not about the container; that can be fixed.

Stay tuned for part two, Rebecca


part two

Last week in part one I began discussing the controversy of bottled verses tap water and the chemicals added to our tap water. This week I will discuss some ways that you can still have the purest of water, be an environmentally wise consumer and address the other complaints leveled against the bottlers of water.

No doubt the argument that it takes millions of barrels of oil to produce those plastic water bottles is a fact. Many food products are packaged very similarly, sodas, juices, microwave ready meals come on plastic trays, plastic wraps, sandwich bags all take energy to produce. Bottom line we are all very dependent on plastics. The entire medical world is a wash with plastics that make treatments, drugs and surgeries safer.

We simply must begin to consider recycling a must for every man woman and child. The comment ÔI see water bottles all overÕ is not about the water itÕs about the person that chose to throw it out. Only 30% of the water bottles produced are recycled- that is simply unacceptable.

The next argument is that even those bottles recycled waste oil. Once again, why pick on just the water bottle? All recycled plastics become durable goods, car parts, patio furniture, pick nick benches, and more water bottles. I donÕt think you or I know anyone in any developed country anywhere whose life is not touched by plastics. We have to be smarter about the use of this material.

Since the subject is the water bottle letÕs look at some options.

  1. Have service deliver bottled water to you house in five gallon refillable bottles. The five-dollar deposit certainly deters those who donÕt like to recycle/reuse.
  2. From your home bottled source refill you individual serving size bottles. Rinse them with one drop of bleach to ten parts of water to assure their cleanliness. I have an individual serving size water bottle I purchased while traveling in the Hawaiian Islands five years ago- IÕm still rinsing and reusing. I think that qualifies as a durable good.
  3. Invest in a reverse osmosis water purifier. Initially they are costly but over time you will recoup your investment, and itÕs a selling point when you decide to sell your home.
  4. Encourage your employer to provide bottled water in larger containers or install a purifier reducing the need for individual bottles.

The bottled water industry, for the most part does use local tap water as its source, but the FDA requires them to label it as such. Bottlers put the water through an extensive four-part purification process that leaves behind only the purest of water. If you donÕt think so ask your provider or go to their web site and request a read out of whatÕs left in the water after purification. I think you will be pleasantly surprised that thereÕs little of nothing left other than pure clean water.

A testimonial? No, I speak strictly as a professional that is concerned about my own health and the health of others when it comes to the importance of pure fresh water without chemicals and impurities. Your choice should never be about the container. Till next time, Rebecca


08/30/07 & 9/6/07