Headline March 13, 2016/ ''' RETHINK : *YOUR BOTTLED WATER* '''

''' RETHINK : 


HERE IN PAKISTAN  -just three days ago, the law enforcing agencies raided two water bottling plants in Islamabad.

These hardened, shameless, miserable criminals were selling something akin to a horrifying poison. What exactly is the state of affairs in Karachi, Mumbai, Decca, Kabul,  and elsewhere,  is beyond words.......... 

Evocative colors, names and labels depicting pastoral scenes have convinced us that the liquid is the purest drink around. But given the lack of labeling requirements for bottled water, how much do consumers actually know about what's in the bottle?

''The public should not assume that the water purchased in a bottle is better regulated, more pure, or safer than most tap water. 

Water utilities are required to tell the public more about their tap water than water bottled companies are,'' says Mae Wu, a bottled water expert in the Natural Resources Defence Council  [NRDC], a nonprofit organisation in the US devoted to protecting health and the environment.   

DESPITE ALL THE  CONCERNS  over water safety regulations, demand for bottled water continues to grow mercilessly and globally.

The US Food and Drug Administration [FDA] requires bottlers to regularly test for contaminants, but the agency considers bottled water a low risk product, so plants may not be inspected every year.

According to one official, it's the manufacturer's responsibility to ensure that the product complies with the laws and regulations.

MOST BOTTLED WATER comes in  polyethylene terephthalate bottles, indicated by a number 1, PET or PETE on the bottles's bottom.

The bottles are generally safe says Ken Smith, PhD, immediate past chair of the  American Chemical Society's division of environmental chemistry. But scientists say when stored in hot or warm temperatures, the plastic may leach chemicals into the water.

When 25-year old Leslie Tai, a film maker in Beijing, learned about the health risks from plastic bottles, she was concerned:

''I have always believed that drinking water is good for my health so finding out that water bottles maybe harmful was very disturbing. Now I try to carry around a stainless steel container,'' she says.

''Sometimes it's inconvenient to tote around my own container,but the less exposure to plastic, the better.''

It's not just where you store your water, but what you do with it as you carry it with you. Many people sip from a bottle that's been sitting in a hot car, a potentially dangerous move.

Annie, Hung, 24, an English instructor in Hong Kong found that some of the bottled water she bought had a  ''funky plastic-like-taste.'' She discovered the cheapest brands most often tasted this way and decided it would be safer to stick to slightly more expensive brands.

''After hearing about chemical seepage in bottled water, I decided it's not worth the risk to pick a bottle that looks too old or too cheap,'' she says.

 In the past Annie might re-use the same bottle more than once, now she re-cycles the bottle after one use.
''The weather here makes bottled water a must, but you have to be careful with what you drink.'' 

''Are these hazards associated with these chemicals?'' asks James Kapin, a chemical safety consultant in San Diego. ''Absolutely.'' But as with many debates on chemicals, the exact health risks are unknown,

''We very rarely get black-and-white answers for the health effects of long term exposure. At some point, I hope there will be a scientific consensus.''

In the meantime, experts have raised a warning flag about a few specific chemicals. Antimony is a potentially toxic material used in making PET. 

A few years ago, scientists in Germany found that the longer a bottle of water sits around [in a store, in your home], the more antimony it develops.

High concentrations of antimony can cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea. In the study, levels found were below those set as safe by the EPA,but it's a topic that needs more research.

In 2007, a National Institutes of Health  [NIH] committee agreed that bisphenol A [BPA], chemical found in polycarbonate  [used to make water cooler jugs, sports-water bottles and other hard plastics, but not PET], may cause neurological and behavioral problems in foetuses, babies and kids.

A separate NIH sponsored panel found that the risk was even greater, saying that the adult exposure to BPA  likely affects the brain, the female reproductive system and the immune system. 
Some brands of water come from islands and countries thousands of kilometers away, and shipping bottles can cause carbon pollution to spill into the water and spew into the air.

Then there's the waste of water itself, says Todd Jarvis, PhD, associate director of the Institute for Water and Watersheds at Oregon State University. 

It takes about 273 billion litres of water a year, worldwide, just to make the empty bottles.

Treating and filtering tap water for bottling creates  even more waste. By some estimates, it takes about two litres of water to make every litre you see on the store shelves. 

''Bottled water is not recommended if we are trying to create more sustainable communities,'' says Lau.  A big part of the appeal of bottled water is those convenient single-serving bottles.  

Although recycling of plastics, glass, and paper in many Asian countries is low compared to Europe and North America, national recycling campaigns in Singapore, Japan, Thailand, and Hong Kong are making recycling more convenient for residents.

But without a recycling culture in place, items like plastic bottles end up in incinerators, or in landfills where they could sit for thousands of years.

Nestle Waters, Danone, and other bottlers are trying to be greener, introducing lighter-weight bottles that use up to  30%  less plastic.

It's a good start, but more needs to be done   -BY THEM AND BY US..

With respectful dedication  to the  'Civic Bodies' and   Law Enforcement Agencies In Pakistan, India, Afghanistan, Siri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan. and the World Over,  -and all the Students of the world.

See Ya all on !WOW!  -the World Students Society and the Ecosystem 2011.

''' *What We Can Do* '''

Good Night and God Bless

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


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