A lot of diseases occur because of contaminated drinking water. So, it is very important that one should always drink clean and pathogen-free water. Bottled water is considered more hygienic than tap water. People spend a lot of money on buying bottled drinking water. But, is it really better than tap water? Here are some facts that will give you an insight on the matter.
Bottled Water Regulation Facts
Given below are the facts on bottled water and tap water regulations set by the US FDA (Food and Drug Administration ) and EPA (Environmental Protection Agency).
- The surface water used by cities need to be tested for commonly found water pathogens which are Cryptosporidium or Giardia, as they can cause diarrhea and other intestinal-related problems. Bottled water companies don't have to follow this.
- The city tap water needs to meet standards for a specific toxic or carcinogenic chemicals like phthalates which leaches from plastic. Many bottled drinking water industry majors persuaded the FDA on exempting this regulation.
- The tap water provided to cities from surface water has to be filtered and disinfected, but for bottled water there are no such federal water filtration and disinfection requisites. Some bottled drinking water is treated more than the tap water, but some are not treated at all.
- The city tap water should have no E. coli or fecal coliform bacteria contamination. However, for the bottled water no such prohibition is in place and in fact, a specific amount of the E. coli bacteria is allowed.
- The city water systems are required to issue annual right to know reports. This helps to let the consumers know what the water contains. However, nothing like this is applicable to the bottled water industry. Hence, it is important that consumers who buy water bottles should read the label carefully to check about the taste of the water and its treatment procedure.
Bottled Water Figures
Here are some more important facts according to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.
- Around 2.5 billion bottles of water are sold in year in New York alone and when stacked from end to end, they can reach the moon.
- Compared to the manufacturing of water bottles, the pollution created by processing of tap water is less and lower amounts of energy and natural resources are used.
- One of the facts regarding reuse of the bottles is that only 10% of plastic water bottles are recycled, and 90% of them end up as garbage or litter.
- Millions are spend to annually clean these water plastic bottles which litter the parks, open spaces, and roads.
These were the various facts which show that bottled water is not necessarily safer than tap water. However, in emergency situations like earthquake or floods, high-quality bottled drinking water is a better option for people with compromised immune system. Other than that, the above facts show that bottled water is not safe.
So, it is important that one should use tap water which is treated with home filtration systems for drinking water. This is a much cheaper option and the bottles can be filled with the home filtered water again. To avoid the carcinogenic chemicals which leach from plastic, using glass bottles is a safer and hygienic option. In case you are buying bottled drinking water in a situation where filtered tap water is not available, read carefully the label of the bottle before buying it.