Nauset Horizons

All Bottled Up

The ugly truth that beverage companies are desperately trying to keep their caps on.

Alexis Comeau, Author

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Bottled water manufacturers, such as Poland Springs, Aquafina, Dasani, and Fiji, have some secrets they are desperate not to leak. A number of recent studies have concluded that bottled water not only is worse for the environment than tap water, it’s also worse for human health.


Ever since its first significant introduction to America in 1977 by Perrier, people have chosen bottled over tap water for a variety of reasons including safety, convenience, and supposed green promises. Originally thought of as just a passing yuppie fad, bottled water quickly caught on and has transformed into a $100 billion industry (Business Insider).  Bottled water was first sold with the promise of an elitist lifestyle, but now the focus has transformed to health.


Despite the fact that almost everywhere in the United States has access to clean tap water for almost free, people still are attracted to buy their water packaged in detrimental plastic bottles – anywhere from 240-10,000 times the price of the tap (Online Education).


“The packaging is very appealing” says 18 year old Madi Smith of Brewster. “The lush forests and crystal clear waterfalls make you feel refreshed before you even take a sip”.


However, the true cost of this beverage style isn’t included on the Whole Foods sales receipt. Chemicals found in the plastic, including antimony, a lethal drug in large doses, and Polyethylene (also known as PET) easily leak into the water itself, which is then drunk by humans.


Coca Cola’s bottled water division, Dasani, has been under a lot of scrutiny lately with the discovery that despite it’s claims of “pure, still water”, they were actually just using tap water. It was argued that they should be forced to remove the label “pure” as it is misinforming potential consumers.  In fact, almost 25% of marketed bottled water comes directly from the tap! (


In addition, bottled water is considered a food produced and regulated under the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) while tap water is monitored by the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) which operates under much stricter guidelines. Bottled water manufacturers are only required to measure quality once a week, while tap water is measured multiple times a day (


In fact, 22% of bottled water has been found to contain chemical contaminants above the State health limit.  


The plastic comes from oil, the biggest contributor to climate change. A whopping 47 million gallons of oil are used to produce water bottles annually.  Only 1 out of every 5 water bottles are recycled, and can only be downcycled into less valuable materials that still require virgin plastics ( The rest are simply thrown away, which contributes to the massive amount of plastic in our oceans, with microscopic and macroscopic pieces found even from the stomach of fish caught for human consumption.


To produce the bottles, it requires 3 times the water it takes to fill it (Online Education). As of January 2015, global drought is considered “the number one global risk based on impact to society” by the World Economic society. One in every 10 people lack access to safe water (, yet the wasteful habit of buying bottled water continues.


To top it all off, studies such as the one done by Penn & Teller, a comedy duo who hosted a taste test in the center of New York in 2015,  proved that 75% of New Yorkers can’t even tell the difference between bottled water and New York tap (Psych Central).

Clearly the bottled water industry has known this for a while, and that is why 10-15% of the money spent on purchases goes directly to advertising (Online Education).


In fact, when asked about the tap water in our own community, Brewster resident Mike Doherty says “the taste is great, I drink it everyday and never had an issue from it.”


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All Bottled Up