Scientists warn that drinking bottled water has a 1,400 times greater impact on the ecosystem than its direct consumption from the tap

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During the last years, the consumption of bottled water has increased considerably worldwide, a phenomenon that responds to several situations, such as the lack of access to the vital liquid, the contamination of natural sources, or the belief that it is the best quality than that provided by conventional means.

In this context, a Spanish research team undertook the task of comparing the impacts on both health and the environment of the consumption of bottled water in Barcelona against two other options: consume filtered water from the tap or drink it directly from the wrench.

As detailed by scientists in a study published recently on the Internet by Science of the Total Environment, environmental and health impacts are independently evaluated, so they developed a new methodology that combines elements of an approach known as life cycle analysis, useful for measuring the consequences in the ecosystem, with the evaluation of impact on health.

After estimating the environmental damage and the impacts on human health derived from the traffic jam process, the academics discovered that if the entire population of Barcelona, Estimated and 2020 and 1.6 million inhabitants, drink bottled water, it would cause the loss of 1.43 species annually and would have a production cost close to 83.9 million of dollars. Scientists point out that these figures represent an environmental impact some 1.400 times higher compared to the hypothetical scenario.

“The greater environmental impact of bottled water was attributed to the high consumption of materials and energy required for the production of bottled water compared to tap water,” the authors explained in the publication.

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Although it is true that tap water contains chemicals called trihalomethanes, an element used during purification and which has been associated with bladder cancer, it is found in minimal concentrations that do not pose a significant threat to the population.

If the Spanish city drank only from this source, the total number of years of life lost in the locality would increase to 309 years, or the equivalent of an average of 2 hours life expectancy lost if shared equally among all residents. If a filter were added, “that risk would be further reduced, up to 36 years.”

“Our results show that, taking into account both environmental and health effects, tap water is a better option than bottled water, since it generates a greater variety of impacts”, commented Cathryn Tonne, co-author of the research.

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