Bottled or R-O: Comparing Bottled Water to Filtered Water
Today in America, bottled water is a multi-billion dollar industry. It is the fastest growing and most profitable segment of the entire beverage industry!
Hundreds of millions of dollars are spent each week by water bottlers to create the perception that bottled water comes from some magical pristine mountain spring or pure underground aquifer.
The plain truth is that most bottled water is little more than tap water in a bottle. The Federal regulations (FDA) that govern the quality of bottled water only apply if it is transported across state lines, and only require it to be "as good as" tap water, not better. Most water bottlers bottle and sell the water in the same state to avoid Federal purity standards, read the labels! There are no assurances or requirements that bottled water be any safer or better than tap water.
The U.S. FDA says: "Companies that promote bottled water as being safer than tap water are defrauding the American public."
In March of 1999‚ the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) released a report called "Bottled Water‚ Pure Drink or Pure Hype?"
NRDC‘s report points out that more than 40% of all bottled water comes from a city water system‚ just like tap water. The report also shows that 60-70% of all bottled water is exempt from FDA‘s bottled water standards‚ because it is bottled and sold within the same state. According to the NRDC‚ "bottled water companies have used this loophole to avoid complying with basic health standards‚ such as those that apply to municipally treated tap water."
According to the NRDC study‚ "even when bottled waters are covered by FDA‘s specific bottled water standards‚ those rules are weaker in many ways than EPA rules that apply to big city tap water." For instance‚ if we compare EPA regulations for tap water to FDA‘s bottled water rules: (these examples are quotes from the NRDC report)
- City tap water can have no confirmed E.coli or fecal coliform bacteria. FDA bottled water rules include no such prohibition (a certain amount of any type of coliform bacteria is allowed in bottled water).
- City tap water‚ from surface water‚ must be filtered and disinfected. In contrast‚ there are no federal filtration or disinfection requirements for bottled water.
- Most cities using surface water have had to test for Cryptosporidium or Giardia‚ two common water pathogens‚ that can cause diarrhea and other intestinal problems‚ yet bottled water companies do not have to do this.
- City tap water must meet standards for certain important toxic or cancer-causing chemicals‚ such as phthalate (a chemical that can leach from plastic‚ including plastic bottles); some in the industry persuaded FDA to exempt bottled water from the regulations regarding these chemicals.
- City water systems must issue annual "right to know" reports‚ telling consumers what is in their water. Bottlers successfully killed a "right to know" requirement for bottled water.
The Natural Resources Defense Council report concluded that; "Therefore‚ while much tap water is indeed risky‚ having compared available data‚ we conclude that there is no assurance that bottled water is any safer than tap water."
The reality is that people pay from $1 to $4 a gallon for the perception of higher quality‚ when in fact‚ the quality of bottled water is at best an "unknown"!
Home water purification‚ is by far the most economical‚ the most convenient and the most effective way of producing high quality, healthy water.
Filtering out the chlorine‚ lead and other contaminants with a quality home water filtration system‚ at the point of use‚ just prior to consumption‚ is the best way to know for sure about the quality of your drinking water.