Is Bottled Water Safer Than Tap Water?

  • Nov 15, 2011

is bottled water healthier than tap waterAustin, Texas: Many people are still buying plastic bottled water from the grocers and at Starbucks and other retailers in hopes of staying healthy.

Unfortunately, only a percentage of these bottles get recycled and many of them end up in the landfill or in the waterways.

Most people like bottled water for their on-the-go lifestyle– and find them to be a convenience, which they are.  However, claims that bottled water is healthier than tap water is misguided.

According to Connie Mizak, a USF professor in the department of Geography, Environment and Planning, the price of bottled water could be defensible if consumers gained something from the extra charge. But  that has yet to be proven, she told in an article from The Oracle.

“There is no empirical evidence that bottled water is cleaner than tap water … There’s a lot of money being made on a resource that is available to all of us out of our faucets. It is a scheme, essentially,” she said. “The scary part is that, while municipal water is regulated by the EPA and has to meet the Safe Drinking Water Act standards, bottled water is regulated by the FDA and, under these rules, if bottled water is produced in a state and that product never crosses state boundaries to be sold, then it’s exempt from any regulations.”

The article continues: Even if the bottled water has crossed state lines and has been required to meet FDA standards, they have “more lax requirements than tap water, which is tested on more elements,” said Van Dyke. Bottled water that is marketed as “100 percent spring water” is not even purified, she said, as the FDA allows it to come straight from the spring.

The filtration process bottled water companies use is often reverse osmosis for water from aquifers or other non-spring sources. This is a very common filtration technique, one that can even be installed at home for a one-time cost of $100, Mizak said. For those with a smaller budget, Mizak said, “carbon filters work just fine and catch the majority, if not all, of what reverse osmosis removes.”

A 2008 study showed that bottled water often contains residues of medicine, fertilizer and other waste byproducts.

In addition to the fact that plastic bottles end up in the waste stream and are not any healthier than tap water, studies are showing that the plastics in the bottles may cause cancer.

A recent study conducted by the University of Missouri, found a “78 percent increase in the growth of the breast cancer cells compared to a control sample,” according to the Environmental Working Group. The group responded to the study, saying the “ingestion of endocrine-disrupting and cancer-promoting chemicals from plastics is considered to be a potentially important health concern.”

Next time you want water on the go, take along a reusable water bottle and fill it from the tap.

If you are a business looking to promote your brand by giving away imprinted water bottles for your next trade show or as Holiday gifts, be sure to stay only with those bottles made from biodegradable plastics or stainless steel, which can be reused hundreds of times.

Let’s promote ecology and wellness at the same time.  Encourage the use use of reusable water bottles – and let’s try to put an end to single-use plastic bottles as quickly as possible.


  • Category: green marketing
  • Tags: biodegradable water bottles, is bottled water better, reusable water bottles, safety of tap water, tap water vs. bottled water