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Bottled water bottled water text_and_q

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  • 1. ZZZE1012 1 NEW REASONS TO RETHINK WHAT YOU DRINK by Christine E. Boyle Remember boiling tap water for drinking? Who has the time now? Instead, bottled water is everywhere, in offices, airplanes, stores, homes and restaurants throughout Asia. We consumed over 49 billion liters of the stuff in 2007, an eight percent increase from 2002. It’s refreshing,5 calorie-free, convenient to carry around, tastier than some tap water and a lot healthier than sugary sodas. But more and more people are questioning whether the water, and the package it comes in, is safe, or at least safer than filtered tap water – and if the convenience is worth the environmental impact. Evocative names and labels depicting pastoral scenes have convinced us that the liquid is the10 purest drink around. But given the lack of labeling requirements for bottled water, how much do consumers really know about what’s in the bottle? “The public should not assume that water purchased in a bottle is better regulated, more pure, or safer than most tap water. Water utilities are required to tell the public more about their tap water than bottled water companies are,” says Mac Wu, a bottled water expert at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), a nonprofit15 organization in the US devoted to protecting health and the environment. Yes, some bottled water comes from sparkling springs and other pristine sources. But in the US alone, more than 25 percent of it comes from a municipal supply. The water is treated, purified and sold to us, often at a thousandfold increase in price. Most people are surprised to learn that they are drinking glorified tap water, but bottlers aren’t required to list the source on the label.20 According to the Asian Bottled Water Association, water from municipal supply that has been subjected to distillation, deionization or reverse osmosis does not have to state on its label that it is from a community water system. However, there are some brands like Nestle Pure Life that indicates whether the water comes from public, private or deep well sources. The controversy isn’t simply about tap versus bottled water. Most people drink both, knowing25 the importance of plenty of water. What they may not know is that some bottled water may not be as pure as they expect. In 1999, NRDC tested more than 1000 bottles of water from 103 brands. This happens to be the most recent major report on bottled water safety. While noting that most bottled water is safe, the organization found that at least one sample of a third of the brands contained bacterial or chemical contaminants, including carcinogens, in levels exceeding30 industry standards. The NRDC found that samples of two brands were contaminated with phthalates, in one case exceeding Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards for tap water. These chemicals, used to make plastic softer, are found in cosmetics and fragrances, shower curtains, even baby toys, and are under increasing scrutiny. They are endocrine disrupters, which means they block35 or mimic hormones, affecting the body’s normal functions. The effects of exposure to the widespread chemicals may add up. When exposed to high levels of phthalates during critical developmental periods, male fetuses can have malformed reproductive organs, including undescended testicles. Some experts link phthalates to low sperm counts. Water bottles do not contain the chemical, which means the phthalates detected by the NRDC probably got into the40 water during processing at the bottling plant, or were present in the original water source (phthalates have been found in some tap water). Despite the concerns over water-safety regulations, demand for bottled water continues to grow globally. I II III IV V
  • 2. ZZZE1012 2 The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires bottlers to regularly test for contaminants, but the agency considers bottled water a low-risk product. So plants may not be45 inspected every year. According to one official, it’s the manufacturer’s responsibility to ensure that the product complies with laws and regulations. Some bottlers turn to NSF International, a trade group that conducts yearly unannounced inspections of plants, looking at the source of the water and the treatment process, and testing for contaminants. Other companies belong to the International Bottled Water Association (IBWA) which also performs annual unannounced tests50 to ensure the plant is up to FDA standards. IBWA has its own regulations, some of which are stricter than the FDA’s. Bottlers don’t have to let consumers know if their product becomes contaminated, but sometimes they pull their products from stores. In fact, between 1990 and 2007, this happened about 100 times, says Peter Gleick of the Pacific Institute in Oakland, California. Among the reasons for recall are contamination with mould, benzene, coliform,55 microbes, and even crickets. Most bottled water comes in polyethylene terephthalate bottles, indicated by a number 1 PET or PETE on the bottle’s bottom. (No, it’s not the same phthalate mentioned earlier). The bottles are generally safe says Ken Smith, PhD, immediate past chair of the American Chemical Society’s division of environmental chemistry. Nevertheless scientists say when stored in hot or warm60 temperatures, the plastic may leach chemicals into the water. High temperatures in your storage space aren’t the only potential risk. So are the other things you keep there. Experts advise against storing water in the garage, near gas fumes, pesticides and other chemicals that could, at the very least, affect the smell and taste of the water. It’s not just where you store your water, but what you do with it as you carry it with you. Many people sip65 from a bottle that’s been sitting in a hot car, a potentially dangerous move. “Are there hazards associated with these chemicals?” asks James Kapin, a chemical safety consultant in San Diego. “Absolutely.” Experts have raised a warning flag about a few specific chemicals. Antimony is a potentially toxic material used in making PET. Last year, scientists in Germany found that the longer a bottle of water sits around (in a store, in your home), the more antimony it develops.70 High concentrations of antimony can cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. In the study, levels found were below those set as safe by the EPA, but it’s a topic that needs more research. The potential health risks are important to understand, but bottled water also affects the health of the planet. While we struggle to cut down on our consumption of fossil fuels, bottled water increases it. Virgin petroleum is used to make PET, and the more bottles we use, the more virgin75 petroleum will be needed to create new bottles. Fossil fuels are burned to fill the bottles and distribute them. Stephen Kay of IBWA points out that it’s not just bottled water, but juices, soda and other beverages packed in plastic that add to this waste. Some brands of water come from islands and countries thousands of kilometers away, and shipping bottles can cause carbon pollution to spill into the water and spew into the air.80 Then there’s the waste of water itself, says Todd Jarvis, PhD, Associate Director of the Institute for Water and Watersheds at Oregon State University. According to his calculations, it takes about 273 billion liters of water a year, worldwide, just to make the empty bottles. Treating and filtering tap water for bottling creates even more waste. By some estimates, it takes about two liters of water to make every liter you see on store shelves. Although recycling of plastics, glass,85 and paper in many Asian countries is low compared to Europe and North America, national VII VIII IX X VI
  • 3. ZZZE1012 3 recycling campaigns in Singapore, Japan, Thailand, and Hong Kong are making recycling more convenient for residents. But without a recycling culture in place, items like plastic bottles end up in incinerators, or in landfills where they could sit for thousands of years. Nestle Water, Danone and other bottlers are trying to be greener by introducing lighter-weight bottles that use90 up to 30 percent less plastic. It’s a good start, but more needs to be done – by them, and by us. (1,308 words) Adapted from: Reader’s Digest Asia March 2009 A. VOCABULARY (5 Marks) 1. Match the following words with their respective meanings as used in the article. The first one has been done for you. o. consumed (Line 4) ___b__ a. bottled (Line 11) ______ b. pristine (Line 17) _____ c. bottling (Line 41) _____ d. unannounced (Line 48) _____ e. shipping (Line 79) _____ a. ships b. drink c. clean d. important e. transporting f. water container g. putting in bottles h. provided in bottles i. without advanced notice
  • 4. ZZZE1012 4 (5 x ½ m = 2½ marks) 2. Find a word in the text that has the same meaning as each of the following expressions. The paragraph numbers help you know where to look a. Make a guess that something is true (Para II) ____________________ b. Factories that supply drinking water (Para III) ____________________ c. Buildings for manufacturing purposes (Para VI) ____________________ d. Things that can cause danger (Para VIII) ____________________ e. More environmentally friendly (Para X) ____________________ (5 x ½ m = 2½ marks) B. REFERENCE (5 Marks) What do the following words/phrase refer to? 1. the liquid (Line 10) _________________________________________________________ 2. They (Line 35) _________________________________________________________ 3. this (Line 54) _________________________________________________________ 4. it (Line 75) _________________________________________________________ 5. they (Line 89) _________________________________________________________ (5 x 1m = 5 marks) C. COMPREHENSION (40 Marks) Answer the following questions based on the article. 1. a. What are all the possible sources of water that are sold in bottles? ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ (2 marks) b. Are bottled water companies required to state where their water came from? Circle A or B. A. Yes B. No (1 mark)
  • 5. ZZZE1012 5 c. Quote from the article to support your answer. ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ (1 mark) 2. a. There are stricter rules for bottled water than for tap water. Is this true or false? A. True B. False (1 mark) b. Quote from the article to support your answer. ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ (1 mark) 3. What does the writer mean by “glorified tap water” (Line 20)? ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ (2 marks) 4. Find the words/phrases in paragraphs II and III that refer to tap water sources. i. ____________________________________________________________________________ ii. ___________________________________________________________________________ iii. ___________________________________________________________________________ (3 marks) 5. a. Explain how phthalates cause harm to humans. ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________
  • 6. ZZZE1012 6 ______________________________________________________________________________ (3 marks) b. Where did the phthalates in bottled water come from? ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ (1 mark) 6. a. List all the contaminants that have been found in bottled water. i. ____________________________________________________________________________ ii. ___________________________________________________________________________ iii. ___________________________________________________________________________ (3 marks) b. When a company finds that some of its bottled water is contaminated, are they required to tell the public about this? Circle A or B. A. Yes B. No (1 mark) c. Quote from the article to support your answer. ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ (1 mark) 7. a. In your own words, explain what is meant by “pull their products from stores” (Line 53). ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ (2 marks) b. Why did they “pull their products from stores”? ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ (2 marks)
  • 7. ZZZE1012 7 8. a. What kind of plastic are water bottles made of? ______________________________________________________________________________ (2 marks) b. What is the problem with this plastic? ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ (2 marks) 9. a. Explain how antimony gets into bottled water. ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ (2 marks) b. What are the effects of antimony on humans? ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ (1 mark) 10. What is the main idea of paragraph IX? ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ (2 marks) 11. List five reasons why bottled water is harmful to the environment. i. ____________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ ii. ___________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ iii. ___________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________
  • 8. ZZZE1012 8 iv. ___________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ v. ____________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ (5 marks) 12. Based on your understanding of this text, what is the best alternative to bottled water? ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ (2 marks) ‘SELAMAT MAJU JAYA’

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