Bottled water isn’t the answer
While confidence in public water supplies can be shaken when problems like lead exposure in Flint, Michigan, make headlines, experts say that in general, bottled water isn’t the answer. “Tap water, especially filtered tap water, can definitely be as clean or cleaner than many of the bottled waters that you would purchase,” says Dr. Andrews. Dr. Hozalski agrees, adding that overdependence on bottled water has a downside. “Putting water in a bottle and trucking it across the country is energetically wasteful and monetarily wasteful when the tap water you already have is just as good,” he says. “On my campus we banned the sale of plain bottled water; instead we have a bunch of bottle filling stations.” This is the real reason why you should never refill your plastic water bottle.
The “Erin Brockovich” carcinogen is back in the news
Remember that carcinogenic chemical Erin Brockovich exposed in the drinking water of Hinkley, California, back in the 1990s? (It was featured in the movie of the same name, starring Julia Roberts.) It’s called chromium-6, and a recent analysis of federal drinking water data by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), found an unsettling amount of it in sinks across the country. “In the tap water of at least 200 million Americans in all 50 states, chromium-6 has been detected above the minimal risk level,” says David Andrews, PhD, an EWG senior scientist. “By and large it can be found in most water at varying concentrations, yet there’s no federal drinking water regulation to keep it in check.” Although chromium-6 can occur naturally, it is also an industrial chemical with a wide variety of uses. If you want to know if chromium-6 was found in your area’s water, check this interactive map compiled by the EWG. Make sure you know what kinds of gross bacteria could be growing in your tap water if you don’t use your faucet for a few days.