Bottled Water

Bottled water is enjoying a booming business due to the many water problems that are now coming to light. People purchase and drink the bottled water as they feel the taste and safety is superior to tap water. The bottled water industry is required to test for the same group of contaminants as the public water utilities and is allowed to have a minimum contaminant level. The bottled water industry is also allowed to sell water with a minimum level of contamination (bacteria, algae, dirt, lead, etc.). When the water tastes better, the public perceives it as pure. What people don’t realize is that many times the bottled beverage is no better or more pure than the water coming from the kitchen tap, often worse – it just tastes better.

HERE IS THE SCOOP ON BOTTLED WATER:

  • Expensive: The California Assembly Office of Research did a study on bottled water in 1985 indicating consumers were paying up to one thousand times the cost of tap water for bottled water.
  • Inconvenient: People using bottled water regularly tend to store many bottles used and unused. These people usually hoard the “clean” water for special purposes, i.e. coffee, beverages, rather than use it freely whenever needed. There can also be the problem of having too many bottles on hand as they may not be used fast enough or not enough bottles as the water is being consumed too quickly.

There are no laws requiring the bottled water to be any more pure than tap water: In1991, the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Commission did a study on bottled water with the following findings:

  • 25% of gourmet waters (i.e. Evian, Perrier, et al) draw from the same sources as cities!!
  • 31% exceed tap water limits for microbiological contaminants!
  • 25% were unable to document their water sources!
  • Any bottled water sold strictly within state borders is not subject to regulation by the Food and Drug Administration!

The University of Delaware found that of the 37 popular mineral waters, at least 24 were out of line with at least one of the 31 standards set for drinking water. The California Assembly Office of Research study (1985) also did random samplings of name brand bottled water sold in California reported finding numerous contamination problems, such as various chemicals, insects, algae, bacteria, fingernails and even chewing gum.

Due to the nature of the bottling and handling process, it is difficult to avoid casual contamination from different points in the process. As well air that bubbles up into home drinking water dispensers is laden with bacteria and dust which contaminates the water each time. Bottled water companies recommend keeping the water out of direct sunlight and even supply covers for the bottles because the algae, etc. which was not completely filtered out will start to grow in the bottle with warmth and light (remember the greenish scum?)

Tap Water

The EWGs first ever nationwide compilation of tap water testing results from drinking water facilities, shows widespread contamination of drinking water with scores of contaminants for which there are no enforceable health standards. Examples include the gasoline additive MTBE, the rocket fuel component Per chlorate and a variety of industrial solvents. This pollution affects more than one hundred million people in 42 states.

A wide range of pharmaceuticals that include antibiotics, sex hormones, and drugs used to treat epilepsy and depression, contaminate drinking water supplies of at least 41 million Americans, according to a 5-month investigation recently released by the Associated Press National Investigation Team.

Environmental Working Group (EWG) studies show that tap water across the U.S. is contaminated with many industrial chemicals. We now know that millions of Americans are also drinking low-level mixtures of pharmaceuticals with every glass of water, said Jane Houlihan, EWG Vice President for Research. The health effect of this cocktail of chemicals and drugs has not yet been studied, however we are concerned about risks for infants and others who are vulnerable. Once again, the press is doing EPA’s work when it comes to informing the public about contaminated tap water.

Environmental Working Group analysis shows that of the top 200 drugs in the U.S., 13 percent list serious side effects at levels less than 100 parts-per-billion (ppb) in human blood, with some causing potential health risks in the parts-per-trillion range. EWG calls on EPA to take swift action to set standards for pollutants in tap water in order to protect the health of Americans nationwide, including children and others most vulnerable to health risks from these exposures.

Drug residues contaminate drinking water supplies when people take pills. While their bodies absorb some of the medication, the rest of it is flushed down the toilet. Drinking water treatment plants are not designed to remove these residues and the AP team has uncovered data showing these same chemicals in treated tap water and the water supplies in 24 major metropolitan areas around the US. The EWG national tap water atlas documents tap water testing results from 40,000 communities around the country.

Of the numerous pharmaceuticals reported in drinking water supplies, many are unregulated in treated tap water… any level is in considered acceptable. Not only has the EPA failed to set standards for pharmaceuticals, but they have also failed to enforce that Utilities test for such chemicals.

WHAT’S IN YOUR WATER?

Use EWG’s National Tap Water Quality databases to find out.

Water Data Results From 42 States          Find a Contaminant

Drinkable Air AWG Water

Drinkable Air AWG Water is the purest on the planet.

The following test results from Spectrum labs show the purity of our water.

Water Report November 2012
Water Report September 2011
Water Report From Southern University
Water Report July 2011