Your naturopath, physican, and family all urge you to drink more water.  Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!  And they are correct.  Many of us are fortunate to have many sources of water from which to choose.

Often, that choice is bottled water.  Many people who use bottled water assume it is cleaner that tap water.  While this may be true in areas that have contaminated water sources, it is not a fact upon which you should rely.  In the United States, a 2008 study by the Environmental Working Group found that contaminant levels in bottled waters vary widely.  Some of the brands tested were found to be of no better quality, and in some cases were worse, than water available from municipal water systems.

Further, most bottled water (including bottles made for water coolers) is stored in a plastic container containing BPA (bisphenol A.).  In the past decade, more than 130 studies worldwide have linked BPA to breast cancer, obesity, early puberty, heart disease, diabetes, and liver abnormalities.  Canada banned the use of BPA in baby bottles and infant formulas in 2008, and declared it toxic in 2010. Many states and municipalities in the USA have followed suit or enacted stronger bans; Europe recently banned the chemical in infant products.

While there is no one-size fits all answer to these concerns, here is what we suggest:

  1. Ask your municipality for a report detailing the contents of your drinking water.  If this is not available where you live, often a government agency will test your drinking water for a small fee, or home kits are available.
  2. Learn about water filtering options within your budget.  Check with Consumer Reports or other unbiased information to select a filter or filters for your home.
  3. Use the filtered water.  Fill BPA-free water bottles with it, use it for boiling rice, and keep the pet bowls full of it.
  4. Change out the filters.  This is a special message to my unnamed friend who told me last night she hasn’t changed her filter in three years or so.

And when you’ve done all that, hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.  J