Is Bottled or Tap Water Healthier?

bottled water

It’s a common question that keeps creeping up. There are lots of arguments in both camps. But separating truth from hype is easier said than done. If you think crowd sourcing is the answer, stick with the tap. According to the latest Harris poll, less people made the switch to bottled water from tap water last year than at any time since 2010. Attorney with the National Resources Defense Council Mae Wu, who also works with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), says in most cases tap water is just fine. Public health organizations enforce rigorous standards. Under most circumstances, bottled water is neither cleaner nor safer than tap water, according to Wu. Then there is the impact to the environment, the extra plastic and the resources to make the bottles adds to global warming. You can’t always trust bottled water either. For instance, a report by the Environmental Working Group discovered highly contaminated bottled water being sold in stores.

Still, you shouldn’t shy away from bottled water due to this. The FDA does regulate it and make sure it is held to “at least as stringent” standards as that which comes from the tap. There are some things to consider before you give up on bottled water completely. Look into the water where you live. Those in rural areas near farms may have poorer quality water due to pesticide and fertilizer runoff. See where your water comes from. Call the town or county. Usually, the water authority will come out and test it for free, and tell you what’s in it. Don’t complain about city water. New York City and San Francisco have some of the best water in the world. If you are still concerned, you can also visit the EPA’s website for area-specific information:  http://water.epa.gov/drink/standards/hascience.cfm. When your water comes from a private well, it isn’t tested by the water authority. You could be at risk of chlorine or other dangerous compounds. Also older houses, those built before 1970, may have lead pipes.  Have your water tested. If you rent, ask your landlord. Why not purchase a water filter just in case? You’ll be producing the same product as Aquafina or Dasani who merely filter tap water, without the environmental impact.

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