About Chemistry, Environment, Waste Management and Green Life Inspirations

17 June 2010

Bottled Water Versus Tap Water, Which Is Better

Studies Show That Tap Water Is As Good Or Better Than Bottled Water

Many people spend substantial amounts of money each year on bottled water because they believe that it is cleaner or safer than tap water.

Studies conducted in the U.S. show that tap water is often cleaner and safer than bottled water. The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) conducted a study evaluating contaminants in bottled water. They tested 103 brands of bottled water and found that one-third contained contaminants, and one even exceeded allowable limits ("Bottled Water: Pure Drink or Pure Hype?" NRDC March 1999.).

The Scary Truth About Bottled Water

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is responsible for ensuring that many products people purchase for consumption are safe. However, companies who package and sell their bottled water within the same state, which constitutes 60-70 percent of all bottled water consumed in the U.S., are exempt from inspection by the FDA. Those that are overseen by the FDA are actually not tested as stringently as city tap water is - bottled water is not required to be disinfected, filtered or tested for contaminants such as viruses. Bottled water is tested for bacteria once per week and synthetic chemicals once per year, in contrast to tap water which is tested weekly and quarterly for bacteria and chemicals, respectively. Even fecal traces are allowable in bottled water, provided they're not too high ("Bottled Water: Pure Drink or Pure Hype?" NRDC March 1999.).
Labeling of bottled water is meant to inspire images of crisp clean flowing mountain spring water, bottled directly and sold straight to the buyer. Surprisingly, anywhere from 25-40 percent of bottled water sold in the U.S. is simply tap water that has been put in a bottle, labeled attractively, and had a price tag attached. It was discovered that in one case "pure glacier water" was indeed bottled public city water, and one labeled "spring water" actually came from a source near an industrial parking lot and hazardous waste site!

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