Bottled water up to 3,500 times worse for the environment: study


London: The environmental impact of bottled water is up to 3,500 times greater than that of tap water, according to a new study. The consumption of bottled water has increased sharply in recent years globally, due to the perceived presence of chemical compounds in tap water.

The study, led by the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal), aimed to provide objective data on three different water consumption choices: bottled water, tap water and water filtered tap in the city of Barcelona.

“While it is true that tap water may contain trihalomethanes (THMs) derived from the disinfection process and that THMs are associated with bladder cancer, our study shows that due to the high quality of the tap water in Barcelona, ​​the risk to health is low. , especially when we take into account the global impacts of bottled water, ”said Cristina Villanueva, ISGlobal researcher.

The results, published in the journal Science of the Total Environment, showed that if the entire population of Barcelona decided to switch to bottled water, the required production would cost 1.43 species lost per year and cost 83.9 million dollars. dollars per year due to mining. of raw materials.

This is about 1,400 times the impact on ecosystems and 3,500 times the cost of extracting resources compared to the scenario where the entire population would switch to tap water, the researchers said.

In this sense, the results estimate that a complete switch to tap water would increase the total number of years of life lost in the city of Barcelona to 309. Adding household filtration to tap water would reduce this risk considerably, lowering the total number of years of life lost to 36, the study showed.

“Our results show that considering both the environmental and health effects, tap water is a better option than bottled water because bottled water generates a wider range of impacts, ”said Cathryn Tonne, ISGlobal researcher.

“Using household filters, in addition to improving the taste and smell of tap water, can significantly reduce THM levels in some cases. For this reason, filtered tap water is a good alternative. Even though we didn’t have enough data to fully measure its environmental impact, we know it is much lower than that of bottled water, ”she adds.

However, the authors recognize that household filtering devices require adequate maintenance for proper operation and to prevent microbial overgrowth.

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Posted on: Monday Aug 09, 2021 12:11 am IST


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