Tap Water vs Bottled Water: DANGERS, Risks (and What To Do About It)

Tap water was once the only omnipresent and free source for H2O. But this concept seems quaint now. Especially as there is bottled water all over the place. In offices, planes, shops, homes and restaurants.

In 2006, it is estimated we consumed over eight billion gallons of bottled water and this ia an increase of 10% when compared to 2005. This makes sense when you consider that bottled water is refreshing, calorie-free, comfortable to wear, tastier than tap water and far healthier than sugary sodas.

But more and more people are wondering if the water and the packaging of bottled water is safe. Or at least safer, than tap water? Let’s discuss.

What’s in Tap Water?

Most countries source tap water from local sources such as rivers and lakes.This water can contain bacteria, industrial pollutants, agricultural runoff and heavy metals and minerals leached from the soil.

In order for water to be safe to drink, a treatment plant must filter the particles, disinfect the water to kill microorganisms, and remove any minerals or other chemicals that meet EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) standards.

How to Purify Tap Water?

If you are concerned about exposing your family to certain pollutants, there are many ways you can purify tap water in your home. Here are some ways you can easily filter tap water. 

Faucets and water filters: These filter systems are the most convenient way to clean water from the faucet. You can easily filter many additives like chlorine.

Jugs with water filters are very popular and allow you to store purified water in the fridge and ready to drink.

Reverse Osmosis and Distillation: To filter other chemicals or minerals, mainly lead and fluoride, you need a slightly more advanced filtration system. The most popular method is to install a reverse osmosis system in your house that cleans the water before leaving the faucet.

What Is In Bottled Water?

The names and suggestive signs that represent pastoral scenes convince us that the liquid in bottled water is the purest drink there is.

“But nobody should think that bottled water is better regulated, better protected or safer than tap water,” says Eric Goldstein, co-director of the Urban Program at the Defense Council Natural Resources (NRDC), a nonprofit organization dedicated to health and protect the environment.

Yes, some bottles of water come from magnificent springs and other untouched sources.

But more than 25% come from a city supply (like tap water). Water is treated, cleaned and sold to us, often at a thousand times higher price. 

Most people are surprised to find that they drink filtered tap water, but the bottler does not need to list the source on the label.

Where does bottled water come from?

Aquafina has recently been forced to let us know on their labels that its H2O comes from public water sources.

And Nestlé Pure Life bottles tell you whether the water comes from public, private or deep well sources.

Dasani recognizes on its website, but not on the label itself, that it is based on local water.

Red CrossBe Careful With Bottled Water Labels

In one notorious case, water from a well near a hazardous landfill was sold to many bottlers. At least one of these companies has called its product “spring water”. In another case, the H2O was labelled as “pure glacier water” from a public water system in Alaska.

Tap Water vs Bottled Water Table

Tap WaterBottled Water
Free in most homes, supplied by local governments.Comes at a cost and supplied by private corporations.
Typically clean but sometimes contaminated with things like fluoride, mercury, bacteria and heavy metals. Always clean and pure but some studies say there is a small risk of BPA exposure from plastic bottles.
The water can sometimes contain impurities.The water is certified impurity free but possible risk from plastic bottles.

Tap Water vs Bottled Water: Which is Better?

Neither.

Red CrossTap water can sometimes be contaminated.

Red Cross Bottled water can be poisoned with BPA from the plastic and is bad for the environment.

Green Plus ArrowThe best solution is to get a water filter or a machine that not only purifies but makes it alkaline.

There are some clear advantages (especially in terms of convenience and taste) for choosing bottled water. However, I believe the drawbacks seem to overcome these benefits. Bottled water is much more expensive and dangerous to the environment, so I can recommend it as the best option.

However, I know that deciding what is best for your family depends entirely on your lifestyle. The convenience of bottled water may be better for your family. And if so, then go with it. Perhaps you can begin to see how much money you are spending. Or you see how much waste is generated and decide to drink tap water more often.

Mr Water Geek Thinking

I suggest a compromise between tap water and bottled water that is easy for your bank account and comfortable for your family.

Think about how much money you spend on bottled water and use it to invest in a tap filter or reverse osmosis system. These give you drinking water directly from the tap, comparable to bottled water. So you can pour water into reusable bottles of glass, aluminum or steel – all the options that you do not have to do when picking up leached chemical productsmrwatergeek winner badge

No matter what type of water filter you use, it will pay off quickly. And you can be reassured when you know that your family drinks clean drinking water, does not produce lorries with plastic waste, and uses your money in a more constructive way that benefits your family.

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