Sunday, July 27

bottled water carbon footprint [and a hole or two in your teeth]

This is my enviro-public health blog post, coz i love yews all.
Yesterday I was reading an article on Grist about bottled water and the environmental costs both to local communities and the broader population...I mean , seriously folks, bottled water per litre is more expensive than petrol and according to The Age, costs aussies 314,000 barrels of oil a year. And for most of us, it gets delivered to our houses, in pipes, for free!!

Now as an epidemiologist in an oral health research institute, the trend of increased consumption of bottled water is even more close to my heart. When you purchase bottled water, not only do you effectively consume an equivalent of a third of the volume of the bottle in crude oil, but you are depriving your teeth or your children's teeth of a good dose of anti-cavity medicine... bottled spring water contains no flouride, the addition of which to our mains drinking water has been the most successful public health measure in Australian history.

The thing is, as a nation we had had one of the best rates of (or lack of) dental caries in children in the world. At age 12, the average aussie kid had NO caries. This is how the picture used to look until about 3 years ago. Our research is showing that the rate is increasing. This is the first time the trend has reversed, and significantly and the research shows that the only change to oral hygiene and food consumption was an increased intake of bottled water to the detriment of tap water.
So do both your oral health and the health of the environment a favour, buy the equivalent of a water 'Green bag', fill it with tap water and give commercially bottled water the flick.

*hops off soap box*

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