Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Drink; Bottled Water: The Latest Accessory That No Thinking Woman Can Be Without

Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Drink; Bottled Water: The Latest Accessory That No Thinking Woman Can Be Without

Article excerpt

I wouldn't like to add up the amount that I spend annually on bottled water, but it's about what I used to spend on cigarettes. Yet, considering that water comes out of the tap cool and ready for drinking, it seems a lot less defensible. As a matter of fact, I was on the cusp of going back to good old British tap water when the story broke about the hermaphrodite fish whose sex has been compromised by all the oestrogen floating around in our rivers. The idea of residues from the Pill lurking in our drinking water (albeit not in actual sex-changing quantities) was enough to put me right off the back-to-basics plan. At least, that's what I told myself.

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As it happens, the superior quality of bottled water is only part of the reason why I, and millions like me, are hooked. Apart from anything else, we now know that water "fresh from the mountain glacier" could have languished on the shelves for anything up to two years. In addition, it comes in plastic bottles, which contain phthalates that have been connected to the decline in male fertility. So, while everyone imagines they've embraced bottled water because it contains fewer impurities, the truth is rather more complicated. Portable drinking water has become the thinking person's accessory: a symbol of belonging and partaking in the serious business of life that occupies the same niche as a mobile phone. With a bottle of water in your bag, you feel on top of things, in control. …

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