Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Can someone explain the bottled water thing to me?

If there's anyone here, in the Rio Grande Valley, who can explain to me, in detail, with specific examples, why exactly I should not drink the tap water, I would appreciate it. Greatly.

And anyone else who just wants to make an argument in defense of bottled water, that would be great too.

We've lived here 2 years. We drink the tap water. I believe we have yet to meet anyone else who drinks the tap water, yet no one has been able to explain to me why, exactly, the tap water is dangerous.

I've heard lots of vague "it's very polluted here," "there are lots of dangerous toxins in the water," "it's not safe," "it causes birth defects," but NOT ONE legitimate, specific REASON for avoiding the water. So we continue to drink it, and continue to remain as healthy (if not moreso) than a lot of the people who only drink bottled.

I'm not knocking those who drink bottled water. (Well, kind of, if there's not a good reason for it, why spend so much money and contribute to the destruction of the environment with all those bottles, even if they are being recycled?) Really, if you want to spend so much more money on bottled water, fine, that's your choice. There is a part of me that thinks if everyone else is so scared of it, maybe I should be, too, and so I would like to know WHY the local water is so dangerous.

I do find it funny (in both a genuinely humorous and a sort of ironic sort of way) that a lot of the time the people who think we are risking our lives because we drink the tap water are the same ones who think we've lost our minds because we don't eat dead cows, because we believe it is too dangerous. Or we are way too strict because we won't let our sons drink soda or go to McDonald's - because surely those things are much safer than tap water.

Also, something I wonder - if the water from the tap is really so dangerous and full of toxins that you can't drink it at all, wouldn't it be unsafe for use for anything? Whatever toxins that might be in it, wouldn't those be absorbed into your food when you cook in it (boiling pasta, for example)? Isn't there a chance that those "toxins" would remain behind on your dishes when you wash them? Those toxins - might they be absorbed into your skin in the shower, into your children's bodies in the bath, into all of your skin in the pool? Into the foods in your gardens?

Further, do you have any idea what is or isn't in the bottled water you (general you) drink? I received a copy of my local tap water report in the mail, but I cannot find a way to get one for the Watermill Express or many of the bottled water companies. The government standards for bottled water and tap water are very different, and the standards for your tap water are much more strict.

I've been Googling this, trying to come up with ONE legitimate reason to drink bottled water. Aside from certain areas where the water is known to be a problem, I can't find anything. At all. In fact, everything I'm finding is showing why tap water is likely as safe or safer than bottled.

I'm not meaning to attack you bottled water drinkers. I just want a reason, an explanation, something in the form of EVIDENCE to show me you're right. We don't eat beef, because we believe conventionally raised beef is dangerous to our bodies and the environment. Aside from the environmental impact of it all, I don't care if you (general you again) want to eat dead cows, that's fine, and I'm not going to tell you otherwise. If you ask me why I don't eat beef, and why I believe it to be unsafe, give me an hour and I'll give you dozens of links to websites, news stories and video explaining my decision, and then you can make your choice for yourself.

That's all I'm asking for with this whole bottled water issue. WHY do you believe the local tap water to be unsafe? What proof can you offer me, especially if you are actively trying to convince me that it is dangerous to my (and my children's) health? Anyone? At all?


fancypansy said...

I am from Toronto and ITA. Bottled water is a big pet peeve of mine. We live somewhere that the tap water is tested and safe...yet when there is a sale on cases of bottled water at the supermarket, people stock up as if it is not next to free from one's own home.

I get that is is convenient (though so is my method, tap water in a reusable steel bottle kept in the fridge, so I always have water on the go) but it is so unneccessary, especially when at home.

I just think it is such a waste of money, and bad for the environment. Sure, the bottles are recyclable...but how many people actually hold onto them when they are out and about instead of tossing their empties into the nearest land-fill destined garbage bin? As well...production of the bottles, and recycling of the bottles still uses a lot of money and resources.

I could bitch about bottled water all day. If your region/municipality is not warning you that your tap water is unsafe, it is just fine! Cheers!

Jenn N Butter said...

Well I agree with you that if your water is perfectly safe then there is no reason for bottled except convenience. Personally I drink filtered tap water from a reusable bottle. I filter because in the end I don't completely trust the bureaucrats to tell me the truth.

I looked up the safety of the water in our town for myself including independent studies done on the drinking water and my main complaint about my own tap is the stuff they put in it to kill off shell fish that have invaded the lakes. If I had a choice I would live completely off the grid but until then I do what I can to keep as many chemicals out of my body as possible.

Yes I am sure that some are absorbed into my skin when I shower. No I do not cook with unfiltered tap. As for my cloths, the laundry service I use filters their water too.

Dioxin and other man made atrocities are making their way into the water in our area and I am preparing for the day when our tap is as unsafe as the water in a neighboring city to the south of us. When I worked in that city, we actually had days when the water fountains would be turned off because of dioxin levels.

Kudos to your town for not having this trouble. I wish all water in the world was as safe.

Thank you for the thought provoking post. I am a firm believer that people should not just do things because other people are doing it but should instead do the research themselves. One should never have a conviction in life that they cannot back up with sound research.


alimum said...

I think tap water is safe. I drink filtered water because I think it tastes better.

Bottled water annoys me. Too expensive (will we be paying for air next?) and bad for the environment.

Judy said...

I've been in places where the water tasted really, really awful, and that's a case where I can totally understand filtering it, or drinking bottled if the filter doesn't get the taste out. In one of the places I used to live, I had a Brita until the updated the water system.

And filtering at home I don't even have a problem with, and is something I've considered. I don't mind the taste of the water here, especially after the last place we lived, so I haven't bothered yet.

It's the bottled water thing that gets me. It's so expensive, so much waste, and I just don't see the benefits. I always wonder if people who drink bottled drink less water, because it costs more.

MizFit said...

(stopping in to read the comments. Im a tapdrinker as well...)


WeightingGame said...

Honestly, I feel like I've been brainwashed by water bottle companies into thinking my tap water is disgusting. And we're not supposed to drink bottle water any more because chemicals like BPA are leaching into it. I have been trying to carry around a hard, reusable bottle and just fill it up with the Brita pithcer, altho my dentist told me he's seen an increase in cavities among Brita users because it removes the fluoride from water. You just can't win! Answer: Drink martinis. Vodka kills all bugs.

thordora said...

What's always amused me is that the same people who will pay oodles for bottled water would NEVER pay a slight raise in their taxes to make the tap water cleaner.

The water here isn't perfect, but neither is the air from the cars that drive past us all day. We drink the water. No horns yet.