Over one billion people around the world have no access to clean water and 2.4 billion have inadequate sanitation. Two million people world wide die every year from water related diarrheal illnesses. . The latest tsunami disaster has magnified the problem immensely.
In developed countries there is so much clean water running through our taps that we can afford to use our drinking water to flush toilets, wash ourselves, our clothes and our cars. On top of that we can afford to spend millions of dollars on bottled water.
Like cell phones, bottled water is everywhere.
Bottled water is the world’s fastest selling drink. In the last 10 to 20 years there has been 70-fold increase in the sale of bottled water in North America and Europe. We are talking in terms of billions of gallons of bottled water.
Why has bottled water become so popular in developed countries?
Bottled water exploits our worries about what affects health in the modern world, says an editorial in the British Medical Journal. Bottled water is seen as a natural antidote to what the consumer sees wrong with modernity.
Health Canada website says that drinking bottled water is a matter of personal taste and preference over municipal tap water. Some people think bottled water is safer than municipal tap water, but Health Canada says that there is no evidence to support this.
Bottled water is not sterile. Bacteria are found in most bottled waters sold for drinking purposes. Bottled water is usually disinfected to remove harmful organisms, but is not intended to sterilize the water. Usually, sterile water is reserved for pharmaceuticals.
In Canada, bottled water is considered to be a food and is regulated under the Food and Drug Regulations. Health Canada website has excellent information on bottled water. Here are some points of interest:
-Bottled water labeled mineral or spring water is fit for human consumption that comes from an underground source. It cannot come from a public water supply.
-Mineral and spring waters must not have their composition modified through the use of chemicals, but carbon dioxide and ozone can be added during the bottling process to protect the freshness.
-Bottled water not represented as mineral or spring water, is water from any source (municipal water, well water, etc) that can be treated to make it fit for human consumption or to modify its composition.
-Do not buy bottles that have a broken seal.
-Do not refill old bottles. It is preferable to buy newly manufactured bottled water.
-While traveling, avoid bottled water unless it is carbonated or disinfected. Buy only sealed products. Wipe off the bottle or can top before drinking or pouring from them.
-Water coolers should be cleaned regularly.
Less than one percent of earths total water is fresh water. There isnt unlimited supply available to waste water. Our municipalities should do a better job of informing and educating the public that tap water is clean, pure, fat-free and about thousand times cheaper than bottled water. And water should be used carefully. There is no need to spend millions of dollars on bottled water.
Joke for the week:
Doctor: Hows that little boy?…The one who swallowed all those quarters.
Nurse: No change yet!
-Edgar Argo cartoon
Start reading the preview of my book A Doctor's Journey for free on Amazon. Available on Kindle for $2.99!