Perrier, Avian, Aquafina, Dasani, these are just a few of the bottled water brands available for purchase in a billion dollar a year industry. Is bottled water better than tap water?
According to the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) bottled water is just a bunch of hype. In fact according to the NRDC, ¼ of bottled water is “bottled tap water.” They also assert that most of the water sold in the United States is exempt from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) rules. The remaining bottled water that is regulated by the FDA is held to a much lower standard when compared to that of tap water.
For example, Tap water cannot be contaminated with any confirmed E. coli or coliform bacteria (bacteria found in fecal matter). However, bottled water does not fall under these criteria. There can be a certain amount of E. coli or coliform bacteria in any bottle of water under FDA rules and guidelines. Bottled water plants only have to test their water for coliform bacteria once a week compared to 100 or more times per month at big-city water plants.
According to the NRDC, city tap water plants must also meet certain standards for toxic or cancerous contaminants like phthalate, which is a chemical that can bleed from plastics, like that found in plastic bottles. Bottled water companies are exempt from testing for many of these contaminants in their water source.
Where do we go from here? What is the verdict? Do not let the ads and commercials with pictures of mountains, lakes and springs fool you. Bottled water is not necessarily healthier than tap water, especially since they are exempt from a number of FDA regulatory guidelines. If you do not have the two or three dollars to spend on a bottle of water enjoy a nice cool glass of tap water, it is just as safe, if not safer.
Photo Credit: homewaterquality.com