Water or Filtered Water
The pictures on bottled water
of crystal-clear mountain springs, glaciers, and pristine landscapes
must help sell water. The average American drinks more than 24 gallons
of it each year.
That is more than milk, coffee, or beer. In fact,
only pop is consumed more than bottled water.
Want some solid reasons to kick the bottle habit? We've
rounded up eight to get you started.
Its sales more than doubled in the U.S. during the
past decade, now totaling nearly $15 billion last year! That amount
would provide clean drinking water to the entire world.
We’ve gotten into the habit of paying good money
for a product we’ve always had for much cheaper. Many people are
suspicious of tap water and buy bottled because they think it’s more
natural, purer, more healthful, and better tasting. But the facts
usually prove otherwise.
But look beyond the pictures and names. A picture of a glacier on the
bottle doesn’t mean it comes from a glacial source, or a picture of a
mountain doesn't mean it came from a mountain spring.
Fact is most of
the water in those bottles comes from a municipal water supply.
same water coming out of your tap!
Even when it is not tap water, the rules are loose
enough that "spring" water may actually come from wells or aquifers.
Some do come from mountain springs or glacial sources, but they are a
Tap water is strictly regulated by the EPA and
monitored by municipal suppliers. Bottled is regulated by the Food and
Drug Administration (FDA) only if it is shipped
across state lines or imported.
In some ways the FDA standards are weaker than the
EPA’s, and its testing far less frequent. Most is packaged and sold
within one state, so it’s subject only to state regulation, which
varies greatly—and in some states does not exist.
The FDA classifies the water according to its
• Artesian well water. Water
from a well that taps an aquifer--layers of porous rock, sand and earth
that contain water--which is under pressure from surrounding upper
layers of rock or clay. When tapped, the pressure in the aquifer pushes
the water above the level of the aquifer, sometimes to the surface.
• Mineral water. Water from an
underground source that contains at least 250 parts per million total
dissolved solids. Minerals and trace elements must come from the source
of the underground water. They cannot be added later.
• Spring water. Derived from
an underground formation from which water flows naturally to the
earth's surface. Spring water must be collected only at the spring or
through a borehole tapping the underground formation feeding the
• Well water. Water from a
hole bored or drilled into the ground, which taps into an aquifer.
Several studies found that most bottled water is of high quality but
some where out of line with the strict standards for tap water. A few
years ago, a study comparing bottled waters with tap water from
Cleveland found that one-quarter, 25%, of the bottled had
significantly higher bacterial counts than tap water.
This is not to say that the water contained enough
bacteria to cause someone to become ill, but it does raise a red
flag—and these findings certainly dispel the myth that bottled water is
safer than tap water.
March 1999 Natural Resources Defense Council report testing more than
1,000 bottles of 103 brands of bottled water about one-third of the
waters tested contained levels of contamination -- including synthetic
organic chemicals, bacteria, and arsenic -- in at least one sample that
exceeded allowable limits under either state or bottled water industry
standards or guidelines.
Read the Summary Findings of NRDC's 1999 Bottled
Water Report and see for yourself what they found.
How Much is
Bottled Water Costing Me?
If you bought a 20-ounce water for a dollar, you’d be paying nearly $6
per gallon. You can lower the price by buy the water buy the case to
between $1.00 to $1.50 a gallon.
Yes, water is essential, but the bottle isn’t. I
pay .007 cents (less than a penny) per gallon from my tap in Metro
Detroit. I just put it in a bottle that I can clean properly and reuse.
The choice seems clear. You can pay up to $6.00
per gallon at the store or pay less than a penny per gallon in your
home. Regardless of how much water you drink, switching from bottled to
tap would save you a handful.
a Good Idea?
In some places and times, bottled water is safer than tap. In the
developing countries where the water supply is risky, for example.
Moreover, millions of Americans get their water
from unregulated private wells, which are more likely to be
contaminated. And on rare occasions that your water from a public
temporarily becomes unsafe the utility must by law notify consumers
and tell them what to do. (This may happen after flooding, or repair to
a water line.)
If your tap water is contaminated, however, your
best long-term option is to
it. It's more convenient and much cheaper than bottled. The
same is true if you know your water is high in lead
pipes) or if your tap water simply has an off flavor or smell.
Bottled Water and go to Quality
Drinking Water Home