BOTTLED WATER VS. TAP WATER We all know that bottled water and tap water are used for drinking, worldwide. The query is which one is safer, read on to find out… The importance of water is well explained through the saying ‘water is life’. Healthy living starts with proper and safe drinking water. There are two types of drinking water – bottled water and tap water. Before we do a comparison between the two, let’s understand each of them first. Bottled Water Bottled water is water packaged in bottles and sold commercially in the market for drinking purposes. In the United States, bottled water is the fastest growing commercial beverage. Each state has its own regulations regarding the quality of drinking water. However, the rules are more stringent in developed countries as compared to developing countries. For example, in the United States, the government has set certain quality standards for bottled water. It is also mandatory for every manufacturing company to label the water quality and the bottle. Tap Water Tap water, also referred to as running water, is the common household water, that every individual receives in the house. In developing countries, majority of the population use tap water for drinking. Hence, public health issues are more or less associated with availability of clean and pure tap water. There is a possibility that drinking water may contain disinfectants (chlorite and bromate), disinfection byproducts (chlorine and chlorine dioxide), organic chemicals (chlorobenzene) and inorganic chemicals (barium and copper). Some government policies suggested adding fluoride in tap water, as a step for good dental health. However, many people are opposed to the idea and hence, adding fluoride compounds in tap water has become a controversial issue. Bottled Water vs. Tap Water The debate as to whether bottled water is safer than tap water for drinking purposes is still ongoing. It is to be noted that the level of contamination in tap water varies depending upon the country. In the United States, the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) establishes public drinking water (tap water) standards; whereas it is the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) that regulates bottled water standards. To get an understanding about which is better, let’s go through the comparison of bottled water and tap water. The basic issue is the affordability; tap water is much cheaper than bottled water. Hence, for many people, difference in the cost is the major consideration. Though bottled water is claimed to be safer than tap water, there are no standard requirements for testing parasite content and toxic chemicals in bottled water; whereas certain requirements are set for tap water, before it is released for public use. For this reason, people with a compromised immune system, such as patients of diabetes and cancer are not recommended the use of bottled water. According to a study conducted by the Natural Resources Defense Council (Sierra Club) in 1999, it was found that the quality of bottled water was the same as tap water. In fact, more than 25 percent of bottled water was tap water, packaged in bottles. Campaigns were organized in order to make the public aware of the fact, and minimize the use of bottled water. Following this issue, use of bottled water is banned in many states, such as San Francisco and Chicago. Use of bottled water results in several environmental issues. It is a fact that for manufacturing one liter of bottled water, more than six liters of water is required, thereby resulting in water wastage. Though, the bottles can be sent for plastic recycling, many are dumped in trash bins. Hence, due to these reasons, environmentalists strongly oppose the use of bottled water.
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