Is bottled water really better than tap?

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

Truth about bottled waterBottled water is not necessarily healthier or safer than tap water. In fact, as some studies have shown, tap water is actually safer and healthier, as it undergoes far more stringent tests than does any so-called mineral water.

In addition to that twenty-five percent, and some estimates are as high as fifty percent or even more, of all bottled water is actually repackaged tap water.

Bottled water definitely does not deserve the nutritional halo that most people give it for being pure; far from it. In fact, tap water undergoes far more stringent tests as to contaminates than does bottled water and is tested far more frequently also to ensure its safety.

If you don't like the taste of tap, because of the chlorine, which is added to destroy any pathogens, you may find it worthwhile to check into filtering your tap water to save money. A simple and cheap counter top filter will already do a lot.

In a Gallop survey, most consumers said they drink bottled water because they perceive it to be purer than tap water, though taste and convenience were also factors.

Personally I cannot understand how the convenience bit comes into it here and neither taste. In a survey conducted some years back by Thames Water, though independently verified, most people believed the tap water to be bottled water and preferred it.

This must means that either London's tap water is some of the best in the world and much better than any American tap water or people have not been given a proper taste test.

Because bottled water is considered a food, it is regulated by the US Food and Drug Administration. Tap water is regulated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Both types of water are subject to testing for contaminates.

When it comes to the testing of bottled water those tests are not as stringent as those – at least in Europe – of tap water and while, as already mentioned, tap water is checked for quality and safety several times a day (a minimum of eight times a day in the case of Thames Water) bottled water may only be checked once a month, if that.

However, an estimated 60 to 70 percent of all bottled water in the U.S. is packaged and sold within the same state and thus is, in fact, exempt from any FDA regulation. Also one in five states do not regulate bottled water at all, meaning that no testing at all is being done to legally binding standards.

Moreover, tests on 1,000 bottles of 103 different brands of bottled water found man-made chemicals, bacteria and arsenic in 22 percent of the bottles.

This does not mean that tap water is immune to contamination problems. While most US cities meet the standards for tap water, some tap water in nineteen cities where it was tested was found to contain arsenic, lead, and pesticides.

While most healthy adults can tolerate exposure to trace amounts of these contaminates, some people, such as cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy, individuals who are HIV positive or recovering from a transplant or major surgery, pregnant women, children, and the elderly, are more vulnerable.

For those individuals, tap water that has been treated treated with reverse osmosis (those filter systems are available for domestic users but are costly) or tap water run through water distiller is what I would advocate. And for anyone who would like to make sure that the water is pure again it is tap water run through a distiller (such as the Megahome Water Distiller) or tap water that has been filtered and here a counter top filter jug already will suffice.

As for the fitness water craze, skip it. It has nothing to do with fitness. No such “fitness water” or specialty waters will give an athlete an advantage or edge. And, as far as vitamin-fortified waters are concerned they may actually pose a risk for over-supplementation.

Go tap and if you insist then distill your tap water or filter it via a counter top jug filter. But use tap and a reusable bottle. Do NOT reuse a plastic bottled water bottle. They are meant to be used only once and disposed off, as they will leach chemicals, such as BPA into the water.

© 2013