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MASON CITY, Iowa - A new report is advocating Americans to stop drinking bottled water because it's a drain on your money, as well as damaging the environment.
'Take Back the Tap', published by the advocacy group Food & Water Watch, found that 64% of bottled water comes from municipal water sources, meaning that Americans are paying for water that would otherwise be free. In addition, the report found that 'a gallon of bottled water costs around $9.50-nearly 2,000 times the price of tap water for municipal taxpayers.'
But is it enough to change drinking habits? Emily McMahan switched to bottled water a year ago because the taste is better than tap.
"Tap water has so many chemicals, and it's unhealthy for your body. And bottled water doesn't have many chemicals in it," McMahan says.
McMahan has had issues with water all of her life.
"I lived out on a farm when I was younger, and my Grandpa always used well water and tap water. And every time I drink out of a sink, it tastes bad," McMahan adds.
She isn't the only one that made the switch; the report found that Americans drink nearly 25 times as much bottled water currently than 40 years ago - over 40 gallons per person. In addition, most of those bottles don't end up being recycled; in 2015, about 70% of plastic bottles ended up in landfills.
However, Mason City resident Michael Davis and his family prefer drinking straight from the tap, and it's because of a force of habit instilled in him when he was younger.
"The way I grew up, I drank tap water. It carried over from when I was a kid, and I still drink it as an adult," Davis says.
He also sees why bottled isn't better, namely due to potential health risks.
"I leans toward tap water because of the environmental factors in terms of some of the chemicals that are found in plastic. So any way my household can help out the environment, we're all for it."
The report is also calling for Congress to grant federal funding to fix the country's water infrastructure, which Food & Water Watch claims is crumbling and hasn't seen large-scale funding for it since 1977.
If conditions do improve, McMahan may switch back to tap, but it would take a lot of convincing.
"If they can make it not taste with all the chemicals and everything, I'd probably switch back. But I'd probably stay between the two if they fix it," McMahan says.
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