Could bottled water really be unsafe?

 Access to oxygen and water, two of nature’s essential commodities, is pretty much taken for granted.  We expect that they’ll always be there for us and we might not even appreciate that without plants which recycle oxygen as they use carbon dioxide to make energy a ready supply of this life-giving resource might be rapidly guillotined.  The whole human race would shockingly suffocate as one. While we can go without food for an extended period of time deprive a human of water and within three days a gradual yet tragically inexorable demise is inevitable.   We understand although we don’t always uphold the six cups per day requirement and we’ve even become snooty about our  water source, many of us opting for the bottled variety, appreciating that it might be less chemically contaminated and thus safer and of course easier to transport.

  Recent reports that ‘forever chemicals,’ specifically perfluorooctane sulfonate and perfluorooctanoic acid, invented by the 3M corporation many years ago, a company in the USA with billion-dollar profits, to make leather, fabrics, food packaging and even paper more durable and currently found in Scotch Tape and Post-it notes, are carcinogenic even in miniscule amounts, is putting the notion that water is safe to bed.  They’re omnipresent in all the tap water around this country and are also found in the bottled range, including sparkling water, sadly, possibly due to the carbonation process, at the highest levels.   This concerned me as I enjoy this fizzier, more palatable choice.  Purified water contains less of the toxic chemicals than spring water because of the reverse osmosis filtration procedure used to remove these substances.  Granular activated charcoal is another filtration technology that achieves similar outcomes at the tap.

Despite these unsettling findings Health Authorities are at pains to reassure us that our water supply both from the tap and in bottled water is safe, even though they embrace safety standards much lower than those in the USA, where targets for acceptable levels of poly-fluoroalkyl chemicals are at the four parts per trillion level, the equivalent of four grains of sand on a beach containing a trillion grains.  Due to the fact that these chemicals have been found to be carcinogenic as well as immune suppressing and cholesterol-elevating they have been phased out of the manufacturing process but as their epithet implies their presence is not easy to curtail.

  So where does that leave us with ‘water, water everywhere and not a drop that’s safe to drink?’  Not all of us have the luxury of being able to install sophisticated filtration systems and in some parts of the world even tap water is in short supply.  I’m not sure I have a ready solution so if someone out there reading this newsletter has the answer I’d be delighted to share it with my readers.

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