Bottled Water Vs Tap Water: Surprising Facts About Your Drinking Water

Drinking lots of water every day is one of the basic foundations to leading a healthy life. While you may be mindful of sticking to the recommended “8 glasses per day” quantity, how much attention do you really pay to the quality of the water that you’re drinking? With so many sources to choose from – bottled water, water jugs, tap filters, and plain old tap water, how do you pick the healthiest for yourself and your family?

Given that bottled water is very often treated with chemicals and that there’s a high possibility of some very unsavory things being contained in your tap water, this can be a very difficult question to answer.

It is certainly possible, however, to be more informed about the water you’re drinking and where it’s being sourced from.

Bottled Water Vs Tap Water: Surprising Facts About Your Drinking Water

These 10 facts about your drinking water may put you more at ease about the quality of water available to you and your family for drinking.

1. Regulated Tap Water Is Generally Safe

Any kind
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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulates and approves the quality of tap water in America. Misconceptions and the lack of knowledge lead people to still worry about tap water being healthy, but the fact is that any kind of tap water that has been approved is perfectly safe for you to drink. This is because quality assurance is usually not just a one-step process; there are actually multiple levels of water testing and reporting that are carried out before the final approval. Hence, your tap water is just as safe as bottled water. Find out if your tap water has been tested and approved by the EPA. If it has, then spending more money on bottled water is a waste, not just of money, but also of all that unused plastic that is only going to harm the environment.

2. Private Well Water Is Not Always Safe

Pesticides, arsenic, and nitrates
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While the tap water you get in your city may be well regulated by the EPA, it is not always the case when it comes to using private well water in your home. Pesticides, arsenic, nitrates, and other bacteria found in untreated, unfiltered well water make it far from being safe for consumption. Furthermore, this water does not have the same kind of quality-testing requirements and is, therefore, not necessarily always guaranteed safe to drink when it’s made available to you.

If you have to drink water from a well, make sure to only do so if it’s tested and checked for quality on a regular basis.

3. Bottled Water Can Also Undergo Treatment

Many bottled water manufacturers sell spring or mineral water, which is safe to drink directly from the source.

Many of us prefer bottled water either because of the

taste or because of how convenient it is to grab one of these bottles to go. Regular bottled water comes from a wide variety of sources, which include aquifers, springs, and municipal water supplies. Many bottled water manufacturers sell certain types of water, such as spring or mineral water, which are safe to drink directly from the source. However, those manufacturers who procure water from other sources must treat or filter the water first in order to make it safe for human consumption. Subjecting both the water and the bottles to treatments is what affects the final taste of the water, which explains why a lot of people prefer bottled over tap.

4. Bottled Water Damages The Environment

Very few plastic bottles end up being recycled, thus, doing nothing to eliminate or reduce landfill waste

Being a fan of bottled water is not a very good thing for the environment. Out of the millions of people who prefer buying bottled water, only a few

really stop to think about the impact of so many plastic bottles being thrown away every year in North America alone. While plastic bottles are usually recyclable, very few end up being actually recycled. This small number does nothing to eliminate or reduce the number of plastic bottle waste in landfills. In addition to this, there are plenty of resources that are wasted when extracting, transporting, and distributing the water. For instance, bottled water is usually transported within the country in huge trucks that emit a lot of greenhouse gases and other fumes that pollute the air around us.

5. Bottled Water Labels Can Be Misleading

Bottled water may just as well be tap water sealed in bottles, sold to you for thousand times the price.

Contrary to what most of us believe, the bottled water industry is not as strictly regulated as city or tap water is. Manufacturers don’t really have to list out where the water in the bottle is coming from.

Therefore, don’t be too surprised if you find out that your favorite bottled water is, in fact, coming from the same source as your city, or even another city. This means that you’re probably paying 1000 times more to drink the same water that you’re getting from your taps at home.

There are a few brands that have started volunteering information about the source, and some states and provinces have enforced additional rules about what goes onto the label, but it’s still too little information.

6. Bottled Is Not Healthier Than Tap Water

Even if bottled water comes with added vitamins and minerals, it doesn’t always mean it's safer.

Do not be fooled by what the marketing and advertising campaigns outrightly claim. Just because you’re choosing bottled water over tap water, even if it comes to you with added vitamins and minerals, it doesn’t mean you’re automatically making a healthier, safer choice. There is no research that states that bottled water is healthier, so why

not try drinking your tap water instead (provided you check that it has been regulated and approved first)? There are, in fact, plenty of benefits from drinking tap water too; the only difference is that it’s not marketed as aggressively.

7. Tap and Bottled Water Can Both Be Contaminated

Bottled water could get contaminated while going through the treatment process and may not always be safe

Despite the exhaustive safety practices and regulations, it is still possible for both bottled and tap water to become contaminated. Accidents may happen at both the municipal and/or manufacturer level. Bottled water could get contaminated while going through the treatment process—or more specifically, when it’s being cleaned, when having vitamins and minerals added to it or while manufacturing the bottles. Chemicals used during the manufacturing process may not always be tested since there no regulations to demand that they are, thus leading to contaminated water. It is, therefore, irrational to be afraid of your tap water when the

same could just as easily happen to your bottled water.

8. The Bottled Water Process Wastes Water

The bottling process wastes up to thrice as much the amount of water that is actually necessary to fill one bottle.

The bottling process wastes a large amount of water—up to thrice as much the amount of water that is actually necessary to fill each bottle. This means that not only does bottled water produce plastic waste that damages our environment, but also takes up three times the amount for every bottle. Given the fact that there are millions of people in the world who either don’t have the access to clean water or are completely denied their rights to it, while a large portion of North Americans have 100% safe to drink tap water they can consume at the cost of a few pennies, the water waste from bottled water is extremely profound.

9. Plastic Bottles May Release Chemicals

Plastic bottles release plenty of chemicals into the water, thus rendering it unsuitable for consumption.

Many manufacturers imply in their advertisements and interviews that there are harmful pollutants in your tap water, just to make it seem that their bottled water is so much safer. It is, however, arguable that North Americans should be more worried about the potential chemicals in their bottled water from the bottle itself. Studies claim that plastic bottles release plenty of chemicals, especially when subjected to certain conditions such as excessive heat.1 Phthalate is one such synthetic chemical released by plastic bottles under heat that has been linked to major reproductive problems and is known to increase the risk of certain cancers. So if you leave a bottle in your car on a particularly hot day, you could end up drinking a whole lot of harmful chemicals that you certainly don’t want going into your body.

10. Water Filters Are A Happy Medium

Filters can improve the taste of your water and can also remove a few harmful pollutants from it

If you’re still questioning the safety of tap water and are adamant about disliking its taste, yet want to limit the negative impact of using bottled water as your main source of drinking water, you could use an attachable filter for your taps or just use a jug that filters the water. Filters have a significant impact on not just the taste of your water, but could also remove a few harmful pollutants that make their way through your city’s water process. Filters are also relatively cheap on the pocket and usually need to be replaced only once every two to three months. This will help you save money while meeting your taste requirements and bringing down your fear of drinking contaminated water, as well as make a huge difference to the environment.