Bottled water 3,500 times worse for environment than tap, study finds

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The impact of bottled water on the environment is 3,500 times greater than tap water, a study suggests.

Researchers at the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal) found that if the entire population of Barcelona drank bottled water, the effect on species loss and resource use would be 1,400 and 3,500 times higher, respectively, than if tap water was consumed.

If the city consumed bottled water alone, the cost of raw material extraction would also increase by $83.9 million (£60.3 million) a year.

Around 60 per cent of Barcelona’s 1.3 million inhabitants consume bottled water, according to figures from 2016, despite recent improvements to the drinking water supply.

Both tap water and bottled water may contain chemicals which are harmful to health, the researchers said, with concentrations of disinfection byproducts such as trihalomethanes (THM) tending to be higher in tap water.

Long-term exposure to THM was linked to a small but increased risk of bladder cancer, they said.

The study, published in the journal Science of The Total Environment, set out to evaluate the burden of bladder cancer in the population of Barcelona linked to tap water consumption, and the environmental impact of producing bottled water.

Read more via The Telegraph