Bottled water unhealthy and slowly killing us

Bottled Water vs. Your Health: What Science Says About the Risks

Is bottled water unhealthy?

During the past couple of years, there has been a big debate about plastic consumption and pollution. The topic that has not been discussed as much is the health aspects of bottled water.

Generally, bottled water companies have been touting the health benefits of bottled water. But what if it’s not healthier at all? What if it’s actually unhealthy causing lower fertility, and permanent damage to infants and children?

In this article, we will explore the health issues with bottled water and why filtered tap water is the better option.

Is bottled water healthy?

Mineral water, Natural spring water, Volcanic water, Glacier water… the brands proclaiming healthier drinking water based on such attributes are many. But is there any scientific evidence that mineral water is healthier?

The majority of participants in a 2009 UK study believed that bottled water has some health benefits. Source:

In a previous article, we looked at all the claims that mineral water is healthier than tap water.

The minerals found in some bottled water include magnesium, calcium, chloride, sodium bicarbonate, and potassium. All of these are essential minerals for human life. Therefore it can easily be understood if mineral water is perceived as healthy. However, there is no scientific evidence that it’s healthier than tap water.

Why do people think bottled water is healthier?

The historical reason that spring and mineral water are perceived as healthier is probably that it was. The water in the cities was often polluted and, until chlorination, often caused waterborne illnesses such as cholera and typhoidDrink clean spring water at a resort for a week and you’ll most likely feel better.

The bottling and commercialization of natural mineral waters first began in Europe in the mid-16th century, with mineral water from Spa in Belgium, from Vichy in France, from Ferrarelle in Italy, and Apollinaris in Germany.


Complicating this further many Germans believe that sparkling mineral is even healthier. It’s true that it’s more thirst quenching. In reality, it’s often the opposite as you will discover below.

What if bottled water is actually unhealthy?

By now it’s clear that plastic packaging is a major contributor to the destruction of many species on our planet. But what if it’s also slowly making humans extinct?

Here are 6 clear pieces of evidence that bottled water is unhealthy.

1. Microplastics in bottled water

A recent World Health Organisation (WHO) study found that in 93% of popular bottled water brands tested the water contained plastic fibers (similar results were also found in a study conducted by Fredonia State University of New York). While studies on the existence of microplastics in bottled water, and the potential danger this presents, are still in the early stages, one can only imagine the potential long-term effects of consuming plastic.


2. Phthalates in bottled water

PET bottled water unhealthy contains phthalates

One of the most harmful substances in plastic is phthalates. In the past few years, researchers have linked phthalates to asthma, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, breast cancer, obesity and type II diabetes, low IQ, neurodevelopmental issues, behavioral issues, autism spectrum disorders, altered reproductive development, and male fertility issues.


Research Dr. Shanna Swan has even gone so far as to say that phthalates are the main cause of growing infertility.


According to the plastic industry PET plastic used for most bottled water is completely safe. They claim there are no chemical phthalates in PET and therefore do not leach these substances.

However, several reports suggest that phthalates still leach from PET bottles into the contents of the bottle. One possibility may have to do with the use of recycled PET. This means that as the bottle manufacturers are using more and more recycled PET it’s making them more harmful.


3. Endocrine (hormone) disrupting chemicals

A study in 2015 of water samples from 29 water bottle brands in Spain showed hormonal activity in all samples. This was estrogenic in 79.3% and anti-estrogenic in 37.9% of samples and was androgenic in 27.5% and anti-androgenic in 41.3%. Hormone-like activities observed in waters from both plastic and glass bottles suggest that plastic packaging is not the sole source of contamination and that the source of the water and bottling process may play a role, among other factors. Source:

Another study from 2009 of 20 bottled water brands of human estrogen receptor alpha detected estrogenic contamination in 60% of all samples with a maximum activity equivalent to 75.2 ng/l of the natural sex hormone 17β-estradiol. Source:

Both studies concluded that a lot more research is required but funding in this space is limited as there are no commercial interests.

4. BPA in PET bottles

PET bottled water reycycling rPET BPA

Another problem with recycling is Bisphenol A (BPA) found in recycled PET (rPET) bottles. A study of 23 samples of virgin and recycled pellets, preforms, and bottles” obtained from five different European manufacturers showed “significantly higher levels of BPA in recycled PET.” The PET bottle industry claims that the levels are below any harmful measures.

5. Antimon used to create PET water bottles

The chemical antimon that is used as a catalyst in creating PET may cause potential health issues. Antimon is not cancerogenic but can cause diarrhea and vomiting. Several studies have found antimon to be leaching into bottled water over time. The concentrations found in bottled water are below the maximum allowed limit but it’s probably better not to expose infants and young children at all.


6. Carbonated bottled water bad for the teeth

carbonated water acidic and bad for the teeth

With sparkling water, you're often exposing your teeth to acid. Carbonated water contains carbonic acid, which like any acid is a threat to your teeth. Unflavored sparkling water has a pH of about 5, compared to regular tap water which has a pH of about 7. Citrus-flavored waters often have higher acid levels that increase the risk of damage to your enamel. But the damage from sparkling water is insignificant when compared to sugary drinks like Coca-Cola.


Conclusion about the negative health impact of bottled water

The bottled water industry continues to advertise the health benefits of bottled mineral water. However, there is no scientific evidence that bottled water is healthier than tap water. On the contrary bottled water has been found to contain microplastics, hormonal activity, BPA, Phthalates, and antimon. The small amounts found may not impact adults but for infants, young children, and pregnant women there is definitely cause for concern.

In summary, avoid bottled water if you can. It’s money-wasting, inconvenient, bad for the environment, possibly unhealthy and there are much better alternatives. If you are concerned about the quality of tap water or don’t like the taste then get a high-quality water filter.

Disclaimer about the adverse health aspects of bottled water

This evidence is not conclusive in proving that there is a link between bottled water and long-term illnesses / adverse health impacts. The bottled water and packaging industry claims that bottled water is “perfectly safe” to consume, pointing to over 30 years of use of PET bottles. However, as many people consume bottled water every day it’s worth taking the risks seriously.

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