Friday, July 24, 2009

Tap or Bottled Water?

Recently I read an article about the difference and similarities between tap and bottled water. I began thinking more about some of the benefits and disadvantages of both. Bottled water can be convenient, it is sold cold at convenience and grocery stores everywhere; however tap water is a more economical choice. Some bottled water has distinct tastes that some people enjoy; however if you refill a reusable bottle or glass with tap water it reduces waste as well as the environmental impact of the bottling, packaging, and shipping process to get the water to your local stores.

Here are some other facts about tap and bottled water to think about the next time you are deciding between the two options.

- Americans drink more than 1 billion glasses of tap water per day. Water provided to consumers by a public water supply system is regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA sets standards for over 90 contaminants that can be found in water. If the water from a public supply becomes contaminated and is a potential health risk, the water supply system is required to notify the public and provide an alternative safe source of water. In addition community water systems send out an annual report sharing with its customers the quality of their water source.

If the water you drink comes from a private well, which includes about 15% of the US population, you as the owner of the well are responsible for having the water tested. This should be done on a regular basis to make sure the water quality is sufficient for drinking. Water from private wells is not regulated by law; however the EPA sets guidelines for private well owners to follow.

- Americans spend over $10 billion dollars on bottled water every year. If you drink bottled water it may come from a public water system or a private source. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates bottled water and set standards for contaminants based on the EPA standards. When EPA creates a drinking water standard the FDA must either establish a new standard for bottled water or show proof that the EPA standard is not applicable to bottled water. When an FDA regulated contaminant is found at high levels in bottled water, the FDA will enforce action such as removing the product from stores. To learn more about the quality of bottled water consumers must contact the bottler directly.

When it comes to tap or bottled water, what do you choose? Are there specific reasons that make you decide to drink one or the other? I would like to hear what you think.

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