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Blame it on marketing, but it seems like if you're drinking bottled water, it should be more 'pure' than regular tap water, right? In reality though, it may just be plain old tap water in disguise. A campaign by Corporate Accountability International is prompting soft drink giant Pepsi to relabel its Aquafina brand of bottled water, and admit that it's just tap water from a public water source.
According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, tap water goes through more rigorous testing procedures than bottled water. In addition to safety concerns, bottled water also contributes to pollution and our nation's oil dependency. It's estimated that 1.5 million barrels of oil — enough to run 100,000 cars for a whole year — are used to make plastic water bottles, not to mention the fuel it takes to ship the bottles worldwide. Plus, less than a quarter of the plastic bottles are recycled, while the rest end up in landfills. (For more on bottled water waste, visit the Earth Policy Institute's article on bottled water.)
What to do? Turn on the tap if your local water supply is palatable. To decrease off tastes, you can also buy filtering pitchers or filters that attach to your tap. And rather than reusing plastic water bottles that can put chemicals into your water, consider investing in a stainless steel model like Klean Kanteens. Bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical that mimics estrogen and could increase your risk of cancer, can leach out of plastic bottles under certain conditions.