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Is Tap Water Better Than Bottled?

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Not long ago I was at a friend’s house, and my four-year-old asked me for a glass of water. I grabbed a cup and headed over to the sink.

“GASP!” my friend exclaimed. “Don’t use that water, use the drinking water!” 

“Oh, yeah, right, I don’t know what I was thinking,” I mumbled as I made my way towards the water tank I’d use countless times over the years I’ve known her.

However, this got me thinking. Is bottled water really superior to what’s on tap from our municipalities, or is plain old water from the sink actually just fine? Or maybe, even just as good or better?

What I learned surprised me.

Studies show that as much as forty percent of bottled water’s source is from municipal taps. Furthermore, municipal water is regulated by the EPA, not so with some bottled water which is regarded as a “food” and is thus under the purview of the FDA. As the EPA has more restrictions than the FDA, bottled water may in fact be less pure in a variety of ways, and thus inferior to some tap water.

In fact, study after study shows that bottled water can be more contaminated with microbes, chemicals, and carcinogens than tap water. This is because not only the standards for allowable contaminants is higher for the EPA’s regulated tap water than the FDA’s regulated bottled water, but also because bottled water is tested far less frequently.

This doesn’t even take into account the fact that the very containers bottled water comes could be suspect.

Ideally, we would all have a super-duper-industrial-strength-revere-osmosis system in our kitchens. As that isn’t realistic, if you are concerned about the source of your family’s drinking water, you may need to do some investigation into your the tap water coming into your home, and/or the water you purchase.


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