Bottled water vs. tap

Bottled water has been a hot topic in the news lately, in part due to a report by the Environmental Working Group disclosing that the 10 best-selling brands of bottled water contain contaminants similar to those allowed in tap water.

This is not altogether shocking when you consider that in some cases, the tap water comes from the same source as the bottled watered. What was more of a surprise to me was learning that bottled water is not closely regulated and is not required to undergo testing as often or as thoroughly as municipal water systems.

This could be because bottled water is regulated as a food under the jurisdiction of the FDA, while municipal water is overseen by the EPA. As long as the bottle contains a “label of substandard quality” the contaminants are allowed, water can be treated with antimicrobial agents, and companies can continue using advertising that conveys a misleading level of purity.

According to WebMD,”Americans drank 9 billion gallons of bottled water in 2007, or slightly more than 29 gallons for every man, woman, and child in the country. They also shelled out $22 billion on a product that critics of the bottled water industry say they should be getting for free from their home faucets.”

We’d been wanting to get a water filter for our house for a long time, to make use of the existing tap water but improve on its taste and chemical makeup. We finally settled on an Aquasana, one of the lower priced under-counter models. While filters will be an ongoing expense, it’s a bargain compared to the estimated 1900% markup on bottled water. Factor in the environmental impact created by plastic containers and product shipping, and it should be easy to make a case for dumping the water bottle in almost any scenario.