What’s In Your Bottled Water?

Have you bought into the bottled water industry’s advertising hype that their product is healthier than tap water?  Those TV ads with glaciers and gurgling streams, along with “natural” names such as “springs”, sure sound good.

But do you know what’s really in that water?   There is no legal requirement that any water bottler inform the public of any test results of its product.  The policy is: “don’t ask; don’t tell.”

Public water suppliers, however, are required to annually inform their customers of water quality testing results.  So I know what’s in my tap water.  And I have no problem drinking it, although I do use purified water for brewing coffee.  That costs just 30 cents a gallon from a machine found in many grocery stores.

And purified water is in fact what is found in many bottled water brands but for a much higher cost than 30 cents a gallon.  I know of a Canadian water bottling company setting up a facility in a city about 50 miles from where I live.  It will buy that city’s municipal water at wholesale rates, purify it, and then bottle it under a number of “private” labels for sale at “dollar” stores.

The Environmental Work Group (EWG) recently investigated just how healthy bottled water really is.  They purchased ten popular bottled water brands and sent them to an independent testing lab for analysis.

The test results were not what you’ll be seeing in any TV commercials.  Four brands were contaminated with  bacteria.  And if you like Sam’s Club water –  that brand contained a carcinogen which exceeded the legal limit in California as well as three times the level of TMH (trihalomethanes),  a chemical bypoduct of chlorination used in public water supply treatment.

Women (and possibly men if the effect is not limited to breast cancer) may be interested in this:

“One bottled water brand spurred a 78% increase in the growth of the breast cancer cells compared to the control sample, with 1,200 initial breast cancer cells multiplying to 32,000 in 4 days, versus only 18,000 for the control sample, indicating that chemical contaminants in the bottled water sample stimulated accelerated division of cancer cells.”

Here’s the EWG report.   Caveat emptor!

Tallahassee’s 2009 water quality report.


6 responses to “What’s In Your Bottled Water?

  1. You are so right. At home I drink only tap water and I know that it’s safer. At work, I we have a cooler and I drink that water because it’s colder. But maybe I’ll stop.
    Not to mention that empty plastic water bottles are taking over the planet.
    Also, men can get breast cancer too. As one of my vets once said (while discussing the benefits of neutering) you can’t get cancer in a body part you don’t have. So men can’t get ovarian cancer, and women can’t get testicular or prostate cancer. Other than that, all shared body parts are fair game.

  2. Yeah good post! The whole bottled water thing is a huge business fraught with all the problems plaguing huge business…… Quality control, environmental pollution, oil consumption for plastic containers etc.

    I had a mini-treatment station installed for my water supply and now have the purest well water possible. It has 6 tanks and 4 motors that run it but it is as sweet and pure as a mountain stream. We no longer buy water of any kind. My monthly water operating cost is $15.

    I think water will become dominant issue in the world in our lifetime.

  3. I hate it when I so agree with pt, I mean, where would we be without his opposition 🙂 But pt, you are so right. Water is truly the key. Here in the South, we haven’t had to face that issue to the extent they already are in the Western U.S.
    But the Chattahoochee-Flint-Appalachicola issue is like the warning shot. I’ve followed that issue as much as I can, because my sister lives practically on the shore of Lake Lanier. It affects both of us personally.

  4. I drink bottled water, simply because it tastes better than the tap water in my city. You present a good argument for a home filtering device, though. I’ll give it some consideration.

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