Bottled Water, Tap Water and You


Walking through the grocery store you’re sure to find an aisle or maybe two full of different varieties of bottled water. Some people claim that they can taste a difference and others simply buy it for the convenience. Whatever your reason for buying it, the truth is bottled water may come from several sources and it can originate from any number of public water sources or naturally (like a spring) from the earth. Fortunately, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has very strict labeling rules for bottled water, but it’s your job to learn the differences among the different terms and what they mean. There’s spring water, purified water and mineral water. Which one is best to buy? Let’s talk about the differences.

3 Types of Bottled Water

  • Purified water is really just tap water that has been purified through some type of distillation, deionization, or R.O. (reverse-osmosis) process. Purified water is also referred to as demineralized water at times.
  • Spring water is water that flows naturally from the earth and is collected directly from its natural source, usually the head of the spring.
  • Mineral water is spring water that contains dissolved minerals and other trace elements (but it has to be at least 250 parts per million) that come directly from the source.

Bottled Water vs. Tap Water:   Which One is Better?
In general, safety standards for bottled water and tap water are the same with very few exceptions. One example is, because tap water can become contaminated with lead as it travels through miles and miles of pipes, the government has placed limits on the amount of lead allowed in tap water to 15 parts per billion, but on the other hand, the limit is set below 5 parts per billion for bottled water. Another huge difference is that tap water is often fluoridated which can cause problems for those with allergies (like my daughter) where most bottled waters do not contain fluoride or chlorine.

So What’s the Bottom Line?
Water is absolutely essential no matter how you choose to drink it. Most people on the planet can safely drink water straight from the tap and it is much cheaper than it’s bottled counterpart. If you would like to improve the taste of tap your water, you can purchase a water-filtration pitcher or a filter that will actually fit on your tap itself, both of which reduce the amount of fluoride and chlorine in the water that comes out of your tap. If you’re looking for the convenience of staying hydrated while on the go, you can help protect the earth by giving up the disposable plastic bottles entirely and treat yourself to a reusable water bottle made of BPA free plastic or aluminum water bottle, which are both environmentally friendly (and can be extremely cute too!).

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