As public outcry increases across American for clean city water, so does the need for purified water bottles.
Custom water bottle labels have been more popular with the public, as more Americans prefer to buy purified water in the bottle from a private label water company they trust.
Flint Michigan is not the only American city or state to have problems with clean tap water. Reno Nevada, Chicago, Detroit, Baltimore, and Milwaukee are some of the more recent cases of contaminated city drinking water.
The Effects of Drinking Lead Water
The health impacts of lead in the water can be deadly.
Exposure to Lead in the water can affect almost every organ and system in your body. Children six years and younger are most vulnerable to the side effects of lead in water.
Lead in the water is essentially the same as a poison. Lead in water can cause seizures, coma, or even death in high amounts. Even low amounts of lead in the bloodstream can result in:
- Behavior and learning problems
- Lower IE and hyperactivity
- Slowed growth
- Hearing problems
How Does Lead Get Into The Water?
The main ways lead can get into your home is from old lead pipes. It can also come from lead solder points, where two pipes have been connected, or from lead faucets and fixtures. The most common though is from old lead pipes. American homes built in the 1950s and 60s commonly used lead water pipes in the home construction. To make the problem even worse, Homes were not the only place where lead pipes were installed, lead pipes were also installed in many water utility and service lines throughout America.
Today one solution to fix this is to use ‘corrosion control’, which is a chemical that is safe to humans and coats the inside of the lead pipe so that the lead is prevented from leeching out. Another solution is to use an in home water purifier that is installed on the very end system of your water lines, which cleans and purifies the water at the last step before it reaches consumers. Another solution consumers have found is to buy bottled water.
Private Label Water Bottles
This is the main reason water bottle labels and private labeled water bottles are becoming more popular. It could also be the reason city tap water consumption is down, as it seems Americans don’t trust the city water. Municipal drinking waste consumption in America has declined by about 5% in the last 10 years. This is the first time in 40 years that water use at home decreased.
But with all the different water bottle labels and brands, how do you know which water bottle to choose?
In the store we see many different water bottle labels saying ‘Alkaline’, ‘Spring’ and ‘Raw’.
But what do these words on bottled water labels really mean?
‘Alkaline’ simply means that the product has a PH higher than 7. Anything below 7 pH is considered acidic. So water bottle labels can advertise that the water is alkaline, if it has a pH 7 or higher. But this does not mean that the FDA approves their health claims.
The International Bottled Water Association says that private label water bottles are regulated just the same as Food labels.
Patty Lovera, assistant director at Food & Water Watch, a Washington, D.C., nonprofit, says that some water bottle label brands seem to be taking advantage of “concerns about purity and health and contamination” of tap water. Which she says, makes accuracy and transparency in bottled water more important than ever.
The Different Types of Water Bottle Labels
Below is some popular water label terminology that you will see on many water bottle labels in the stores.
- Alkaline -This water bottle label means It is a pH level above 7.
- Artesian – This water is from a well that taps a confined aquifer. AN example of this is the Fiji natural artesian water.
- Glacier Water – The FDA does not regulate this term, but Alaska has set the precedent, This label means that the water must runoff from a natural melting glacier. Water from a stream flowing and not diluted by another source. This can also mean the melting of a glacier ice at a water bottling facility.
- Mineral water – This label means that the water bottle has at least 250 parts per million of dissolved solids, and a consistent amount of minerals from it’s source. Bottlers cannot add additional minerals. If minerals are added then this must be marked on the water bottle label as ‘enhanced with minerals’
- Municipal source – This is commonly known as ‘community water’ or ‘public water’ and means that the water was treated and came from the tap. This is a popular method for many private label water bottlers. An example of this is Aquafina.
- Purified – This label means that the water has been purified and treated with various filtration methods. The water cannot have more than 10 parts per million of total dissolved solids. Water purification methods also include reverse osmosis and distillation. Examples of this are Dasani and Nestle Pure Life.
- Raw – this label means the water is not treated, or filtered, and is bottled right at the source. This level is ok as long as it does not test positive for lead, arsenic, or other toxins.
- Sparkling bottled water – This is not the carbonated water you buy at the store, that is called’ Sparkling water’. This label means that the water naturally contains carbonation. It must have the same amount of carbon dioxide in it after the water has been treated, even if the gas is added back artificially.
- Spring – This label on the bottle means “derived from an underground formation from which water flows naturally to the surface.” According to the FDA. The water must be collected at the spring itself or well.
The Lead Pipe Problem In America
The reason for so much lead in America’s tap water could be due to the old infrastructure and cost to replace the old lead water pipes. Drinking water is delivered to 1 million miles of pipes across the U.S, with many of them put in the ground in the early 1940’s, These pipes only had a life span of bout 75-100 years according to the American Society of Civil Engineers.
CNN recently found that 5,300 U.S water systems are in violation of the lead laws. These 5,300 contaminated water pipes hydrate about 17.6 million Americans every day. To make it worse, government officials have known about this for a while and have done very little to fix it.
Take a look below at the lead pipe chart to see the 17.6 million Americans who are as risk of drinking lead water.
For example: "Imagine a cop sitting, watching people run stop signs, and speed at 90 miles per hour in small communities and still doing absolutely nothing about it -- knowing the people who are violating the law. And doing nothing. That's unfortunately what we have now," said Erik Olson, the health program director at Natural Resources Defense Council, who analyzed the EPA's data for its report.
Even Flint Michigan, a city with the most notorious case of lead in water discovered, is still not listed as having violated the EPA's lead and copper rule.
A Virginia Tech researcher who exposed two of Americas largest lead in water crises – in washing D.C in 2000 and, Flint Michigan in 2015, says he noticed the EPA was turning a bling eye to the ‘cheating’ by local water officials.
"Cheating became something you didn't even hide," researcher Marc Edwards told CNN.
But Alan Morrissey, former senior attorney in the EPA's office of water enforcement, told CNN that addressing the problem could create even more violations for the already-strapped EPA water department. Morrissey left the EPA in 2015, frustrated by a lack of emphasis on water.
"If you fix the problem of the game in the system, you now have hundreds -- and thousands perhaps -- of municipalities that have direct violation," he said.
According to the American Water works association, an estimated $1 trillion dollars is necessary to maintain the American drinking water infrastructure, and It will take about 200 years to replace all the water pipes.
Everyday, nearly six billion gallons of treated drinking water is lost because of leaking pipes.
There is an estimated 240,000 water main breaks every year in the United States, and is the reason for wasting over 2 trillion gallons of clean drinking water.
What If You Are Exposed To Lead?
While drinking water in the United States remains the safest in the world, it does not mean you are 100% safe from drinking lead. There are many other different ways lead can get into your bloodstream. Taking a shower in lead water is not one of them because lead does not absorb into the skin. Always use cold water to drink from the faucet, Boiling lead water does not reduce or kill the lead. Hot water is more likely to container higher levels of lead.
Below are 6 unexpected ways you might encounter lead in your everyday life.
- Paint – Lead from paint, or peeling layers of paint is one of the most common places for lead exposure. Before 1970, all paints had heavy traces of lead in them. Most paint today is lead free.
- Water – Drinking water with lead is common due to old lead pipes.
- Food – Some fruit and vegetables grown in soil can have lead from paint or fuel exhaust. Leaded crystal glassware and lead glazed pottery bowls and dishes may also taint food.
- Candy – Imported candy can contain lead, especially if it has tamarind, or certain salts. Candies imported from Mexico, Malaysia, China and India are most likely to be tainted, says the California Department of Public Health.
- Household products – antique furniture, ceramics and crafts can expose you to lead.
- Jewelry – Costume prices, inexpensive metal amulets and vending machine toys can also contain lead. Naturally many children put these toys in their mouth, which can expose them to lead.
The EPA has set limits for over 90 contaminants in drinking water. The Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) allows states to set and enforce their own water drinking law standards as long as it does not meet or go over the EPA’s 90 containment minimum. Contact your doctor or pediatrician immediately if you or a child has drink lead water. Your doctor can do a blood test to check for lead in your bloodstream.
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