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bottled water
Tap Water    ?

Bottled Vs Tap

Did you know that sales of bottled water in the USA have soared over the last 2 years, largely as a result of a public awareness
of the purity driven advertisements and packaging labels featuring pristine glaciers and crystal-clear mountain springs.
But did you know that bottled water sold in the USA is not necessarily cleaner than your average tap water, according to a 4 year scientific study recently made public by Natural Resources Defence Council (NRDC).   

Their study included testing 1,000 + bottles of 103 brands of bottled water. Most of the tested waters were found to be of a high quality, but some brands were contaminated. They found 1/3 of the waters tested contained levels of contamination . These
included synthetic organic chemicals, bacteria, and arsenic in at least one sample that exceeded allowable limits under either
state or bottled water industry standards or guidelines.

One of NRDC main findings is that bottled water regulations are inadequate to assure consumers of either purity or safety,
although both the federal government and the states have bottled water safety programs. At the national level, the
Food and Drug Administration is responsible for bottled water safety, but the FDA's rules completely exempt waters that are packaged and sold within the same state, which account for between 60 and 70 percent of all bottled water sold in the United States
(roughly 1 out of 5 states don't regulate these waters either). The FDA also exempts carbonated water and seltzer, and fewer
than half of the states require carbonated waters to meet their own bottled water standards.

Even when bottled waters are covered by the FDA's rules, they are subject to less rigorous testing and purity standards than
those which apply to city tap water (see chart below). For example, bottled water is required to be tested less frequently than
city tap water for bacteria and chemical contaminants. In addition, bottled water rules allow for some contamination by E. coli
or faecal coliform (which indicate possible contamination with faecal matter), contrary to tap water rules, which prohibit any
confirmed contamination with these bacteria. Similarly, there are no requirements for bottled water to be disinfected or tested
for parasites such as cryptosporidium or giardia, unlike the rules for big city tap water systems that use surface water sources.
This leaves open the possibility that some bottled water may present a health threat to people with weakened immune systems, such as the frail elderly, some infants, transplant or cancer patients, or people with HIV/AIDS.

Ironically, public concern about tap water quality is at least partly responsible for the growth in bottled water sales, which have
tripled in the past 10 years. This bonanza is also fuelled by marketing designed to convince the public of bottled water's purity
and safety, marketing so successful that people spend from 240 to over 10,000 times more per gallon for bottled water than they typically do for tap water.

In fact, about ¼ of bottled water is actually bottled tap water, according to government and industry estimates (some estimates
go as high as 40 percent). And FDA rules allow companies to call their product "spring water" even though it may be brought to the surface using a pumped well, and it may be treated with chemicals. But the actual source of water is not always made clear --
some bottled water marketing is misleading, implying the water comes from pristine sources when it does not. In 1995, the FDA issued labelling rules to prevent misleading claims, but while the rules do prohibit some of the most deceptive labelling practices, they have not eliminated the problem.

However, while Americans who choose to buy bottled water deserve the assurance that it is safe to consume, the long-term
solution to our drinking water problems is to ensure that safe, clean, good-tasting drinking water comes from our taps!!!!!!!


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