The Instigator
Pro (for)
0 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
3 Points

Bottled water is harmful

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/4/2014 Category: Health
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,357 times Debate No: 64583
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (14)
Votes (1)




Round 1 is accept
Rounds 2&3 are arguments and and rebuttals
Round 4 is rebuttals and conclusions


I accept.

Because you have not provided opening definitions, I will place some simple framework ones here, however I will not post any argumentation as this is the acceptance round, as per your instructions.

Harmful: Injurous or causing injury to a person's physical health

Bottled Water: Water which is purchased over-the-counter or by-unit, in contrast to being purchased through general household consumption (e.g. council water mains, etc).


Over to you to open the debate.

Debate Round No. 1


Many bottled waters contain toxins, even if they've nixed BPA.

"Bottled water companies increasingly use BPA-free plastic, but laced into plastic bottles are other chemicals that can seep out if bottles are exposed to heat or sit around for a long time. Some of these chemicals are possible endocrine disruptors. No one knows for sure what the health outcomes are. Do you really want your body to undergo that experiment?" (1)

I know that I would not want to the experiment case for this one. Would you?

Bottled water is expensive

"Americans spent $10.6 billion on bottled water in 2009 and paid up to 1,000 times the cost of tap water. And almost half of all bottled water (48.7 percent) came from municipal tap water supplies in 2009. A growing share of bottled water is now coming from tap water." (2)

It makes no sense to me why someone would want to spend a couple dollars on a bottle of water when we have tap water at home and most likely drinking fountains at work. Spending money on something when you have the chance to get it for free is silly.
Bottled water is bad for the environment

"Bottled water wastes fossil fuels in production and transport. Bottled water production in the United States used the energy equivalent of 32 and 54 million barrels of oil to produce and transport plastic water bottles in 2007"enough to fuel about 1.5 million cars for a year. Rather than being recycled, about 75 percent of the empty plastic bottles end up in our landfills, lakes, streams and oceans, where they may never fully decompose." (2)

"Water bottles are made of completely recyclable polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastics, but PETs don't biodegrade they photodegrade, which means they break down into smaller fragments over time. Those fragments absorb toxins that pollute our waterways, contaminate our soil, and sicken animals (which we then eat)." (5)

Every time you walk outside you will probably see a water bottle lying on the ground. Looking at the statement above, it makes me nervous to know that the food I eat may have been contaminated by a bottle of water somebody bought and they threw on the ground when they were done.

Bottled water is not safer

"Tap water in the United States is subject to more stringent federal safety regulations than bottled water. Federal, state, and local environmental agencies require rigorous testing of tap water safety and make test results available to the public. And despite the marketing claims of purity, independent testing of 10 different brands of bottled water conducted in 2008 found 38 contaminants." (2)

"The fact of the matter is" Bottled water may be hurting your health. A new study suggests plastic bottles release small amounts of chemicals over long periods of time. The longer water is stored in plastic bottles, the higher the concentration of a potentially harmful chemical, a new study suggests." (3)

"Research found that the concentration of certain chemicals, such as antimony, increases the longer the water sits in the plastic bottle. It increases over time because the plastic is leaching chemicals into the water. Antimony is a white metallic element that in small doses can cause nausea, dizziness and depression. In large doses, it can be fatal. Antimony is similar chemically to lead. It is also a potentially toxic trace element." (3)

I would rather drink water from the tap knowing that it must go through a rigorous testing schedule. With plastic bottles releasing chemicals over time why would you want to risk drinking from one? Nobody knows how long that bottle of water has been sitting on the shelf before you buy it so why take that chance?

What can you do?

"There's a simple alternative to bottled water: buy a stainless steel thermos, and use it. Don't like the way your local tap water tastes? Inexpensive carbon filters will turn most tap water sparkling fresh at a fraction of bottled water's cost." (4)
There are always alternatives to bottles water as is stated above.

You can always buy a thermos or just use a regular cup and bring it with you to work/school. This way you know that it won"t end up on the street where it can cause harm to the environment.



I thank my opponent for their arguments. However, I don't know which debate they were participating in, because it certainly wasn't this one.

The resolution as proposed by my opponent and accepted by me is: Bottled water is harmful.
As there was no disagreement, the definition stands that harmful means injurious and causing injury to physical health.
At no stage has my opponent argued that this is the case, and it is yet to be demonstrated that bottled water is harmful.

Let's unpack it.


Health effects
My opponent states in her very first paragraph: "No one knows what the health outcomes are."
This is the only paragraph in which my opponent directly addresses the health concerns, and her conclusion is essentially, "we don't know and I don't want to find out". My opponent has not demonstrated that water bottles are in fact harmful. Further in her piece she discusses the potential leaching of water and collection of antimony in settled bottles. But that's the point; it's potential. Your assertion is not that 'bottled water is potentially harmful'. You are arguing that it is harmful. I will address this more robustly in my main argumentation.

Everything else
I'm going to do something rather unusual here; I'm going to agree with my opponent's arguments. Almost all of them. Bottled water is worse for the environment. It's more expensive. It doesn't contain added goodies like fluorine to improve dental health. It's also unnecessary, especially in well-resourced countries with access to reliable infrastructure to provide clean drinking water. Personally, I never buy bottled water while I'm out, I always carry a reusable container of some description, or water fountains. But once more, this is not the topic of the debate.

My argument has yet to make any argumentation for her case. As it stands, the resolution is being resolved in the negative, as it has not been demonstrated that bottled water is harmful.

Onto my argumentation.

Opening arguments

Bottled water isn't safer
My opponent asserts that "Bottled water is not safer". By most accounts (in most places) I agree, though I have recently been backpacking through Asia for two and a half months and I can absolutely assure you that unless you filter the water yourself thoroughly, bottled water is the only safe thing to drink. Because we haven't specified a region, I could easily take this as a safe escape route and you would have a very difficult time challenging me. However, I don't believe I need to resort to this. Your profile doesn't say where you're from, so let's take my country, Australia. In Australia, bottled water does go through stringent safety testing (1) and the Australian Government keeps very close watch over tap water safety (2). So they're both safe. Bottled water definitely isn't safer than tap water here, but it is not harmful, as my opponent is trying to convince you.

Bottled water and tap water both meet safety standards
Both tap and bottled water meet safety standards here and in the U.S. (1, 2, 3).

You suggest bottling/Thermosing(?) your own tap water
But I thought you said that bottled water is bad for you? Surely this would leech metallic toxins, given that plastic leeches toxins? I mean, if we're following your argument, then this variety of bottled water is harmful too, right?

Glass bottles
Increasing numbers of large water distributors, like Santa Vittoria, San Palegrino and Perrier (5, 6, 7) are using glass water bottles instead of plastic. We have defined bottled water as, "Water which is purchased over-the-counter or by-unit, in contrast to being purchased through general household consumption". Glass is included in this scope, and it's important that it is, because glass water bottles are a highly prevalent option. Glass can shatter, which could be considered "injurious", however this does not pertain to the safety of the bottled water. Please illustrate the mechanism of action by which glass water bottles cause water to become harmful, noting that the literature indicates glass is completely safe (8). Further, a U.S.-based company has begun production of a glass-plastic water bottled hybrid because of their concerns that plastic water bottles leech chemicals. They're wrong, and it's a marketing gimmick, but hopefully you can elaborate on the safety concerns of these water bottles?(9)

What my opponent has to do
In order to demonstrate that bottled water is harmful, it is incumbent on my opponent to present evidence that it is. Further, it would be greatly assisstive if she could demonstrate some disease or ill-health effects of bottled water. Please tell us, in what way is it harmful? How have you determined this? What illness does it cause that constitutes 'harm'? I'm no advocate of bottled water, but it certainly hasn't been demonstrated to be harmful.

I thank my opponent for a fun and spirited round, and I'm looking forward to your rebuttals in this non-conventional rendition of an otherwise common debate.

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Debate Round No. 2


In response to my opponents challenge.

"Campylobacter infects about 50,000 people a year in England and Wales, far more than better-known organisms such as salmonella. Yet until the mid-Seventies it was virtually unheard of. epidemiologist Dr Meirion Evans. "
"The results, in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases, reveal that up to 12 per cent of cases could be attributed to bottled water."(1)

"The Natural Mineral Water Service said bottlers already test for campylobacter, adding that the study had failed to differentiate between mineral water from underground and spring water, which could be polluted by agricultural waste. " (1)



Thanks to my opponent for her round.

Before continuing, I'd like to request that you show your opponents a little more respect in your argumentation. I've had a look at some of your other debates, and you do the same thing: copy and paste quotations for the absolute vast bulk of your rounds. Your last round consisted of 98 words, six of which were your own. That means that your work is just over six percent original. Even with citations, this is blatant plagiarism and is disrespectful. These debates are much more fun and engaging when they're between two people with counterposing ideas, beliefs, arguments or positions, rather than between one person and a series of pasted elements of other people's work.


Not much to be said, other than you didn't finish reading your own source (emphasis added):
"(We suspect that people who are not cleaning their hands or the bottle tops before opening are causing this infection). So please clean the tops before drinking."

Didn't think I'd check, did you?

My opponent has yet to demonstrate that Bottled Water is Harmful.
-> Not can be harmful
-> Not has been harmful
-> Not the Potential for Harm
but to demonstrate that Bottled Water is Harmful.

Debate Round No. 3


Clearly me and my opponent have a difference of opinion and for this reason I will end this debate.


That was an interesting concession. Haven't seen that before. As someone pointed out in the comments, if you thought you were going to get someone who agreed with you then why'd you start a debate?
Anyway I had fun, and at least you stuck around to the end instead of bailing!

Thanks for the debate, best of luck at the polls and in your future debates.

Debate Round No. 4
14 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by InnovativeEphemera 1 year ago
Dropped arguments are taken as a concession...I don't understand which part is complicated here.

If I had changed the definition halfway through, I would be shifting the goalposts. In this case, I was merely assembling goal posts where there were none.
Posted by BLAHthedebator 1 year ago
Exactly. That's not concession. That's dropping (which is still bad)

but still. Just because you set unsound definitions doesn't mean you can then blatantly call someone's arguments off resolution. You are basically moving the goal posts this way.
Posted by InnovativeEphemera 1 year ago
You're not paying attention. My definition could have been "harmful is when purple jelly beans are blended in a NutriBullet until all of their cells have been converted into a sugary paste useful as a substitute for gelignite". Until that definition had been refuted, it would stand.
Posted by BLAHthedebator 1 year ago
I don't think the correct term is "conceded". Just dropped.

Also, despite that, your definition is still unsound. Your definition should have been for the term, "BIOLOGICALLY harmful".
Posted by InnovativeEphemera 1 year ago
Definitions are conceded by absence of refutation, just the same as arguments which aren't refuted are conceded by default.
Posted by BLAHthedebator 1 year ago
I understand that she plagiarized, but I don't really believe that she was arguing off topic.

Oh well, we are entitled to our own opinion.
Posted by BLAHthedebator 1 year ago
Also, despite the fact that she did not dispute your definitions, she also did not specifically state that she accepted them. Maybe she just ignored them (which is admittedly a huge mistake).
Posted by InnovativeEphemera 1 year ago
Firstly, there was ample opportunity to decry the definition. Ample.

Secondly, the instigator did not debate. They copy and pasted from various websites, but not one of the arguments was original. She was following a script, from which I forced her to deviate.
Posted by BLAHthedebator 1 year ago
Not always. From what I've seen, some contenders just leave it alone and say "the definitions are up for debate". Maybe the definitions weren't provided because the instigator wanted to debate the broader term, which she did.
Posted by InnovativeEphemera 1 year ago
What do you mean? In a debate, you pick a side and argue from the position that you've taken. Where definitions are not provided by the instigator, it is incumbent upon the challenger to provide some level of scaffolding for the debate, which is what I did, and I did it in a way that framed the debate around human health. If Pro was unhappy with the direction in which I took the debate, they could have disputed the definitions or my arguments, which they didn't. That's like saying "why are you talking about Jesus in a debate about religion? It's just about religion, generally, so no specifics or examples allowed".

You're right, harmful is a broad term, so I picked a component of it to focus on. That's how debates work. No arguments were provided to the contrary.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by 9spaceking 1 year ago
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: pro started out alright in round two but then dropped pretty much all of con's argument during the last two rounds