17 million barrels of oil, not including the energy to transport them. The Institute also estimates that it takes three liters of water to produce one liter of bottled water. According to EWG partner Corporate Accountability Inter-
national, state governments spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on bottled water for public employees (can you say bud- get crisis?). Here’s an idea: Use the money for public water systems instead. Many are in desperate need of costly upgrades that states can’t afford. It would make good sense to cut spending on bottled water and used it for underfunded infrastructure im- provements instead. EWG recommends that consumers avoid adding to the
problem: Filter your tap water and invest in a reusable water bottle.
Thirsty Thursday: Fill Up with a Filter Drinking plenty of clean water is good for your health, but
both tap and bottled water can contain contaminants that may be harmful. The best bet for getting the safest water possible is to filter your tap water. While more expensive filters generally remove more pollutants, even an inexpensive pitcher filter can sig- nificantly cut down on some key contaminants. But the effective- ness of filters varies widely, so do your research. EWG’s interactive Water Filter Buying Guide (www.ewg.org/
PET plastics contain dozens of chemical that can potentially leach into your water
tapwater) helps you choose the right one for you. There is much more information in the guide than there’s
room for here, but here are some quick take-away tips:
• If you’re on a tight budget, filters using activated carbon are the best bet. They remove lead, chlorine, trihalomethanes and many other contaminants at a modest price.
• If your water is highly polluted and you can afford a more comprehensive filtration system, consider reverse osmosis combined with activated carbon. A system with a superior activated carbon pre-filter can eliminate everything that activated carbon catches and reduce other contaminants, including arsenic, hexavalent chromium, nitrates and per- chlorate. Reverse osmosis filters are typically installed under the sink and integrated into your plumbing.
• If you’re buying a strictly carbon filter, you have a lot of choices.
• For ease of use and affordability, pitcher filters are a good pick. But if constant refilling is a pain, try a faucet-mounted one. The best filters tend to be those that sit on your coun- tertop or under the sink, so if you can modify your plumbing and afford a higher-priced filter, they may be your best bet.
You’ll find detailed information about all these filter tech-
nologies here, in EWG’s Water Filter Buying Guide. There’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to cleaning up tap water, so do your research to get the best results for your money. And remem- ber: All types and styles of water filters require regular mainte- nance to keep working!
Nearly Free Friday:
Your Wallet Will Thank You Retail prices for bottled water vary widely depending on
location and whether you buy it in bulk or one bottle at a time. At convenience stores, consumers typically pay about a dollar a liter. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that tap water costs about $0.002 a gallon – that’s two-tenths of a penny – so the cost of bottled water stacks up to be 1,900 times more than tap water.
At that price, bottled water New in the Triad!
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The best bet for getting the safest water possible is to filter your tap water
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consumers should at least get a guarantee of purity, but that’s not the case. Scientific testing by EWG and others has found a slew of contaminants in bottled waters, including disinfection byproducts,
industrial chemicals and bacteria. According to the EPA, “bottled water is not necessarily safer
than tap water,” so EWG recommends that consumers save their money and drink filtered tap water instead.
The Environmental Working Group is a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to protecting human health and the en- vironment. Our mission is to empower people to live healthier lives in a healthier environment. With breakthrough research and education, we drive consumer choice and civic action. Visit www. ewg.org
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