By Jackie Rainford Corcoran
EBS Health Columnist

If you’re not already, do this one simple thing today to help the environment and your health: stop buying and drinking water from disposable plastic bottles.

Here are eight reasons why:

  • According to the Beverage Marketing Association, nearly 50 percent of all bottled water sold in the U.S. is just tap water that’s been purified.
  • Harmful chemicals called phthalates leach into bottled water after a mere 10 weeks of storage from the time they’re bottled. This had been linked to reproductive problems and different types of cancer and heart disease.
  • While the EPA requires public drinking water systems to annually test and publish the results of water quality, as well as information about the drinking water source and any known threats, the FDA does not require this of bottled water companies.
  • The marketing-driven terms “mountain water” and “glacier water” are not FDA standard phrases. If you see either of those qualifiers on a label, they mean nothing and the water can very well come from a tap. If you are looking for water from a pristine source, look for the words “artesian water,” “spring water,” or “well water.”
  • If you drink from disposable water bottles, think about filling one bottle six more times—that is the approximate amount of water needed to produce that one plastic bottle you’re drinking from. And if that’s not ridiculous enough, now imagine a quarter of that bottle filled with crude oil. That’s how much petroleum is used to manufacture one single bottle.
  • Americans consume about 60 percent of the world’s bottled water. That’s 30 billion disposable bottles used a year, a whopping 1,500 per second. And only 20 percent of those water bottles get recycled while the rest end up in landfills.
  • While water bottles are made of recyclable polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastics, PETs don’t biodegrade—they photodegrade. This means they break down into smaller pieces over time that contaminate our bodies, waterways and soil.
  • The majority of plastic that ends up in our oceans settles on the ocean floor where it will never degrade.
  • So what should we drink if we fear our tap water isn’t safe? The Environmental Working Group (EWG) recommends using water filters certified from either the Water Quality Association or the National Sanitation Foundation. You may have one built into your refrigerator already. You can also attach them to your or faucet or use a water filter pitcher such as a Brita.

Just say no to disposable plastic water bottles. They’re completely unnecessary and a gross example of how we prioritize convenience above all else. Fill up your glass or stainless steel water bottle instead.

Ask the businesses you’re affiliated with to stop using them. Can they install self-serve water filter systems instead? Perhaps they can generate revenue from selling quality water bottles with their logo. If they shrug you off, ask if they’re doing the bare minimum by recycling.

Here’s to health and hydration!

Jackie Rainford Corcoran is an IIN Certified Holistic Health Coach. Check out her new website corcoranhealth.com where you can schedule a free 30-minute health coaching session.