Bottled Water – Have We Gone Completely Mad?

Have we all gone completely mad? Americans are spending over $15 billion a year on bottled water. What on earth is wrong with us? Why are we willing to spend as much as for water as we are for gasoline? At $4.49 gallon we have to be crazy. We all piss and moan about the cost of fuel but do we ever stop when the cashier rings up the liter of water we just paid nearly $2.00 for? No.

The fact of the matter is we can get perfectly good drinking water from our taps at home for as little as .002 a gallon. Are you ready for this? The water out of most taps in the United States has to meet more stringent regulations than water that is bottled and sold. Regulations for bottled water allow higher levels of many contaminants, including but not limited to, volatile organic chemicals, arsenic, certain other inorganic chemicals, and plastic or plasticizing compounds.

A test by the Natural Resources Defense Council concluded after testing 1,000 bottles from some 123 water brands (it’s hard to believe there are so many!) that 22% violated enforceable limits. 17% violated guidelines. Some waters exceeded both state limits and state guidelines. The most alarming thing I found while doing research for this article is the traces of bacteria found in the bottled water. Bacteria used as potential indicator of fecal contamination. Fecal contamination? As in poop? I don’t need any reason to run to the toilet!

In the last issue of EDM, our Health and Fitness expert, David Segal discussed the Importance of Hydration and how it will affect your body’s ability to perform well during physical exertion. I think we all know how poorly our bodies perform with an upset stomach. Nearly anything can cause you to have one, I have actually had one from drinking water but thought it must have been because I drank too much while exercising. I didn’t think for a minute it could be caused by funky water!

In addition to this, the impact on the environment from bottling water would have Al Gore doing back flips. Although I’m sure he drinks bottled water when flying around on his private jet. According to the Pacific Institute, manufacturing the 30+ billion plastic water bottles purchased in one year requires the equivalent of more than 17 million barrels of oil, produces 2.5 million tons of carbon monoxide, and required three times the amount of water to produce than the amount ending up in the bottle!

How does that work? It takes the equivalent of three bottles of water to make one?

Twenty-five percent of bottled water crosses national borders before it gets to your cooler. If you add in the estimated oil consumed to transport these bottles the number is a staggering 50 million barrels per year. That’s enough to run about 3 million cars for the same period.

I really hate to point fingers but there are people out there who don’t think we should be harming the planet with the emissions our motorcycles put out. Those very same people are in the process of passing legislation to restrict our freedom to do so. Before we know it we will be asking our pals, what happened to all the place we used to ride? Wait a minute… we already do that.

I just know those people and the tree hugger’s out there who are screaming about our impact on the environment are mowing down copious amounts of bottled water while they plot and scheme to take away our right to ride. Either totally unaware of the impact they are making on the environment or too hypocritical to concern themselves with such trivia.

We can make a difference but only if we act. Waiting for somebody else to do something about it will not help. The Blue Ribbon Coalition wants to help you preserve your right to ride so does the AMA. Go to their web sites when you get the time and try to get involved.

You can also make a difference by drinking water from your tap. Use a filtration system if you are concerned about the quality of the tap water in your area. Brita and PUR both make several different models of water purifiers. Get one and fill a reusable container to bring to your riding area. Think about the money you will save and the fact that water you are drinking will actually be good for you.

Also, try remember to think about how the other guy feels about your behavior as a motorcyclist. He might just be a congressman who will be voting on your right to ride in the very near future.


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