The 25,000 Chemicals in Your Bottled Water

While most of us know that toting a reusable water bottle is the preferred mode of transport for our daily dose of H2O, the occasional disposable plastic bottle of store-bought water is nearly inevitable in today’s world. But is that water as crystal clear as it looks?

Definitely not. A recent study published by German researchers in the respected journal PLoS One found nearly 25,000 chemicals in bottled water. The bad news: some of the discovered chemicals disrupt hormones—and act like potent pharmaceuticals in your body.

To get started, the study’s authors purchased 18 different samples of commercially sold bottled water from France, Italy, and Germany; they also threw in a sample of tap water into the mix. They then used various methods of chemical analysis to test the water for its ability to interfere with the body’s estrogen and androgen (testosterone, etc.) receptors.

Their findings? According to the study, the majority of bottled waters tested interfered with both kinds of hormone receptors to some extent. In fact, amounts of water as little as 0.1 ounces inhibited estrogenic activity by 60 percent and stalled androgenic activity by 90 percent.The most hormonally active chemicals deteced in the test are those that are actually used to manufacture the form of plastic resins used in water bottles.

This is truly concerning, as the effects on androgenic activity were equivalent to the hormonal activity of the prescription drug flutamide, a hormonal drug commonly prescribed to men suffering from prostate cancer. Some good news: The tap water testing did not reveal any estrogenic or androgenic activity. However, the chemical testing done by the researchers revealed the fact that the bottled water tested contained 24,520 different chemicals.

What to do? Steer clear of store-bought water sold in disposable plastic bottles as much as possible and opt for a reusable, portable bottle instead. My favorite, which I drink from every day, is the limited-edition Camelbak Groove bottle ($25 for plastic and $35 for stainless steel, with $10 of the price going to, which provides clean drinking water for people in need around the globe). With a replaceable, removable water filter built right into the straw, this reusable bottle is a no-brainer. It’s BPA-free, ultra durable, easy to clean (I toss mine in the dishwasher for deep cleans), and it delivers great-tasting water—sans the 25,000 chemicals.

Erinn Morgan


After a 10-year career as an award-winning New York City-based editor launching and redesigning urban, style-driven magazines, Erinn Morgan left downtown Manhattan after September 11th, 2001, in search of a less encumbered, freelance lifestyle. A two-year-long trek around the country eventually landed her in Durango, Colo., which she now calls home.

Her writing has appeared in numerous publications, including The New York Times, Outside, National Geographic Adventure, Bike, Skiing, Delicious Living, American Cowboy, and on

Erinn is also the author of the eco-focused book, Picture Yourself Going Green, Step-by-Step Instruction for Living a Budget-Conscious, Earth-Friendly Lifestyle in Eight Weeks or Less.

She was previously the editor-in-chief of 20/20 magazine, a special projects editor at Playboy (overseeing the launch of a new, custom magazine), and the founding editor/editor-in-chief of SoHo Style, a much-lauded, avant-garde magazine that covered the culture and style of downtown New York and its reach around the world.

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