Drinking Water, The Facts
Is water in a bottle any better than water from a tap? A 1999 report from the
National Resources Defense Council found that bottled water wasn't
necessarily any better or safer than most tap water. The truth is that it
really depends on what is coming out of your particular faucet and tap. It
may be just as good as what you can find on the super market shelves.
The trouble with a direct comparison between tap water and bottled is that
both are regulated separately by different agencies and held to two different
standards. This makes any true comparison difficult to make. However, experts
in the bottled water arena say that 80 percent of all bottled water sold in
the U.S. comes from natural, protected underground sources including wells
and springs. The rest comes from the tap.
How Can You Tell If You Are Buying Tap Water?
The FDA requires bottled-water companies tell you if they are using municipal
water sources. They must include a statement such as "from a community water
system" or "from a municipal source" on the label unless the water has been
distilled, deionized or treated by reverse osmosis.
If you want to buy bottled, read the label carefully and make sure you find
one that has a consumer information phone number. This is your best bet
How Can I Tell If My Tap Water Is Safe?
Call your water authority and ask for its Consumer Confidence Report (CCR).
This report, also found by visiting the EPA at
www.epa.gov/safewater/dwinfo.htm, tells you where you water comes from and
what contaminates are in it. It will also look at possible health risks that
may occur when drinking the tap water.
If you have a well, you are going to have to bite the bullet and have your
If your pipes are your big worry, you can have those tested too. In some
areas, the county health department offers free testing. It is worth a phone
call to find out.
What Should I Do If There Are Contaminants?
The best place to start is to buy a filter. The type of contaminant present
will determine the type of filter you need to buy. Be sure to look for one
that bears the mark of the ISF International, the organization that sets the
standards for filters.
Read the label on the filter carefully to make sure you are buying one that
filters the contaminants present in your water. Not all filters are alike.
Each filters out different elements.
Whatever filter you choose, whether it is a faucet filter or part of a
pitcher system, be sure to change the filters regularly. Not only do expired
filters not properly filter out contaminants, they can also become breeding
grounds for bacteria. This can be worse than just drinking the water with the
Source: Based on information from the EPA and New Age Magazine.