a boots-on-the-ground view of the change that's a-foot

Big Bad Bottles

by Tao Oliveto, Carrboro, NC

Have you broken your bottled water habit yet? Recent numbers regarding bottled water sales indicate that many people are returning to the tap and/or the tap with filters. Tap water contaminant levels are usually more closely regulated, but I agree that filtering is the best bet for health and the environment. New reports show a “surprising array” of contaminants in many brands of bottled water, including those exceeding set standards by the companies themselves. If you are currently relying on bottled water for daily consumption, the monetary cost of any filter is quickly offset by making the switch and the cost to your health is, well, “priceless”.

I miss drinking fountains and still don’t understand why the movement to bring them back is not bigger. It seems that it will decrease litter, pollution, energy use, fuel costs and ensure that the safety of tap water is kept a priority. Most of the time, we want or need just a few gulps to quench our immediate thirst, something the drinking fountain does without waste – I often find discarded water bottles half full or more.

Since bottled water is such a big environmental and health issue, I don’t want to touch the soda industry. EEK – eco-disaster right there, turning a healthy necessity like water into a sugar/chemical-laden mess. It’s not news that it is the most acidic beverage you can drink, it leaches calcium from bones, dissolves the enamel on teeth, and, while diet sodas remove sugar and calories, adds a toxic level of chemicals like methanol. Even Fox News reported in 2007, “Soda May Seriously Harm Health”.

Go stainless steel portable for your water needs out and about. There need be no exceptions. Did you know that you can send an EMPTY water bottle of any kind through security with other carry-ons at the airport? You can then fill it at a fountain before getting airborne.

Break the bottled habit. This one’s a no-brainer. Your world and your health deserves it.

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