Some important information to be aware of in the debate over whether bottled water is really better than purified tap water:
(Note: We gratefully acknowledge the following source of information: AllAboutWater.org -- "The Truth about Bottled Water - Is it really better than tap water?")
- In a 4-year study of 103 brands of bottled water conducted by the National Resources Defense Council, researchers found that about 25 percent of bottled water is just tap water in a plastic bottle (sometimes undergoing further treatment, and sometimes not). For one brand of bottled water marketed as "pure, glacier water," researchers determined it was being taken from a municipal water source; while another brand being hyped as "spring water" was being pumped from a water source adjacent to a hazardous waste dumping site.
- "Purified tap water" is arguably safer than untreated tap water (depending, of course, on the purification methods employed). So consumers should reasonably expect to receive something more than reconstituted tap water for the exorbitant prices of bottled water. One would also expect that bottled water, while not necessarily offering purer water than that found in public supplies, would at least taste better given the price. However, that's not necessarily the case as a study conducted by Showtime television found that 75 percent of tested New York City residents actually preferred tap water over bottled water in a blind taste test. In many cases, then, bottled water is no purer, and may not even taste better, than normal, everyday tap water.
- Municipal tap water falls under the standards and regulations as provided by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), while bottled water (defined as "food" by federal regulations) comes under the purview of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The EPA regulates tap water using much stricter standards and accountability for water treatment and for the testing of harmful microbes than what the FDA employs. As a result, and depending on the brand, bottled water could be less clean and safe than tap water.
- So the bottom line is that most of us are already drinking purified tap water, which has undergone municipal testing and filtration under the more stringent standards imposed by the EPA. While public water is on a par, in terms of purity and safety, with many bottled water brands that tap into public water sources, it should be noted that tap water is nowhere near free from dangerous contaminants. Therefore, the best way to overcome the potential for low water quality is through the use of home water filters which are uniquely designed to work with municipally treated H2O.