Is Bottled Water Safer Than Tap Water?

18 07 2008

I decided to do a little research regarding bottled water to determine if it was safer, or better for your health.   Not only does my family drink bottled water but also many of my friends and family feel that bottled water is better than their own tap water.  I on the other hand am always under argument that our tap water is safe and most likely better quality than what’s purchased in the bottles.  I also can’t see spending an additional cost for bottled water when our municipality provides safe drinking water at our residential tap.  As a Californian I understand that regardless of what impression others may have about our water municipalities… California’s EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) is one of the most stringent in the country when it pertains to tap water supply purity guidelines.  

    “Bottled Water Statistics: 1) More than one-fifth of tested brands contained levels of bacteria or cancer-causing compounds that exceeded the California limit.  2)  Seventeen percent of tested brands contained more bacteria than allowed under purity guidelines.  3)  Thirteen states have dedicated no staff or resources to regulating bottled water.  4)  In a four-year study of 103 brands of bottled water, one-third contained levels of bacteria or carcinogens and exceeded purity guidelines according to NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) reports.  While many people believe that bottled water contains no chlorine or harmful chemicals, the study found that fluoride, phthalate [recall I wrote an article “Are Leaching Plastics Killing Us?  Phthalates a known carcinogenic in poly plastics from the plastic bottle leaches into consumable liquids.  See Mirror Athlete Enterprises health repository for review of this article”], trihalomethanes and arsenic, a known carcinogen, can be found in some bottled waters.  5)  25 and 40 percent of bottled waters are re-packaged municipal tap water which may or may not have been subject to additional treatment.  6)  Bottled water is required to be tested less frequently than city tap water for bacteria and chemical contaminants.  Just because you buy your water in a bottle doesn’t mean it is any safer, purer or better than water that comes out of your tap.”  7) Some “designer” waters may even pose a health threat to vulnerable people, according to the national study from an environmental watchdog group (http://www.drblank.com/hnbottle.htm).” 

There are basically two reasons one should consider bottled water 1) Your tap water has contaminants that are greater than the EPA – tap water supply) and FDA (Federal Drug Administration – bottled water) accepted MCL (Maximum Contaminant Level) standards.  2)  Your water has a strange taste or smell “(http://extoxnet.orst.edu/faqs/safedrink/bottled.htm).” 

Recommendations
 -Buy filters certified by NSF International, change filters per manufacturer recommendations.
-Check the bottle label – If it says municipal or community source, it comes from tap water.
-Save money by drinking and bottling your tap water if it meets MCL standards.
-Due to bacteria possibilities, bottled water should not be consumed by infants and elderly.
-For FDA Standards on bottled water:  http://www.fda.gov (FederalDrugAdministration).
-For more information about bottled water: http://www.wqu.org (WaterQualityAssociation).
-For more information write to Standards and Practices of bottled water companies: International Bottled Water Association, 113 N. Henry St. Alexandria, VA 22314-2973.

Author:  Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, USA Medical Services Officer, CPT, RET.  2008 Copyright.  All rights reserved, Mirror Athlete Publishing, www.mirrorathlete.com,  Sign up for FREE Monthly eNewsletter.    


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