The GREAT MYTH “Bottled Water is Better”


bottle of water

San Francisco’s water comes from Yosemite National Park. The melted snowpack in the park fills the large Hetch Hetchy reservoir and is transported via pipes to the City The water is delicious, however there are millions of people who prefer bottle water over tap water because they believe it is safer than tap water.

Hetch Hetchy Reservior, Yosemite

The sales of bottled water has exploded in the last 20 years. A liter of water can cost anywhere from less than a dollar to more than three dollars. There is assumption by the consumer, bottled water is healthier than tap.

But where is the source of the water? Its not uncommon for that source to be the tap water in your City.

A little more than 50% of the bottled water is derived from spring water. The EPA defines spring water as water collect where water flows naturally to the earth’s surface or from a borehole that taps into the underground source. The rest of bottled water is “purified water” water that comes from the tap that has been filtered or treated .

Is Bottled Water Safer?

Tap water is monitored by the EPA and is regualrly tested. Despite that testing, sometimes contaminants can infiltrate water systems, and the water can become “contaminated with microorganisms, nitrates and/or minerals like lead.

Tap water also typically contains fluoride, which is added during the treatment process. Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that’s been shown to strengthen tooth enamel, and it’s found in most commercially available toothpastes and mouthwashes. Because it’s long been considered a safe compound that has demonstrable health benefits, it’s often added to municipal water supplies. 

But still, problems can crop up. Many water systems have aging infrastructure, and an older network of pipes and connections means that contaminants may more easily find their way in. And when accidents or natural disasters occur, such as what’s happened in Flint, that can render public water sources unsafe and unusable, forcing residents to switch to bottled water.

Bottled water isn’t covered by the Safe Drinking Water Act; it’s regulated by the FDA, which doesn’t require bottlers to share quality-testing info with the public. Independent research shows bottled water may be no freer from contaminants than tap: In 2008, the Environmental Working Group found acetaminophen, caffeine, arsenic, and nitrate in 10 brands of bottled water.

Safe Drinking Water Act, a federal law that ensures the quality of Americans’ drinking water. This law authorized the Environmental Protection Agency to “set national standards for drinking water to protect against health effects from exposure to naturally-occurring and man-made contaminants” in public water systems. This law helped improve the safety of public sources of drinking water, and the EPA continues to oversee more than 150,000 public water systems across the U.S. that serve more than 300 million people.

Some bottled water contains added nutrients, such as vitamins, electrolytes like sodium and potassium, calcium, magnesium and amino acids. Check the label to understand what else might be in there besides just water.

The plastic used to make these single-use water bottles also contains chemicals called endocrine disruptors such as bisphenol A, better known as BPA. BPA and other endocrine disruptors alter the way the body makes and uses certain hormones, which could have negative health consequences. BPA exposure has been linked to breast cancer and other health problems. And because there’s “no mandatory testing program in place, the quality of bottled water can be questionable”.

If you live in a city with an aging infrastructure and an older network of pipes and connections means that contaminants may more easily find their way in. If you have a compromised immune system, bottled water may be a better option.

So What’s better Bottled Water or Tap?

Tap water,remember in most instances when you purchase bottle water, you are buying filtered tap water. Consumers can filter their own water at home. Via Pitcher filters, or whole home filters. Most experts recommend people keep bottled water for emergencies. The largest case against bottled water is pollution. Less than 20% of the plastic bottles are recycled. It takes one thousand years for a single bottle to decompose and those toxins in those bottles leach into our enviroment cause a variety of health issues, including reproductive problems and cancer.

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