by Geri Walton ~ August 30th, 2008
The human body is composed primarily of water, somewhere between 55% to 78%. It is vital to life, and, although people can live for several weeks on water alone, they cannot survive for more than a few days without water. If you’re like me, you’ve probably heard all sorts of stories about the safety and quality of drinking water, and you’ve probably wondered which was better, tap water versus bottled water. Here’s the pros and cons of each.
Tap Water Pros and Cons
|Monitored and regulated by the Environmental Protection
|Some water is carried in lead pipes from utility companies to homes, which means lead can leach from pipes into the water.|
|Amendments to the Safe
Drinking Water Act (SWDA) of 1996 have made drinking
|The EPA allows tap water to have 10 parts per billion (ppb) of arsenic in it, although scientists now know there is no safe level of arsenic.|
|Numerous tests are conducted to ensure safety of tap water
and there are drinking water standards for regulated contaminants.
|Pharmaceuticals and Personal Care Products as Pollutants (PPCPs) get introduced into the water supplies by individuals or agribusiness either through sewer lines, regular use of the products, or improper disposal.|
|Most community water supplies have the added benefit of fluoridation and that promotes strong teeth and prevents tooth decay.||According to neurosurgeon, Russell L. Blaylock, in his book Health and Nutrition Secrets That Can Save Your Life,fluoride does not reduce cavities, and it is neurotoxic at .5 parts per million. Furthermore, he claims fluoride causes dental and skeletal fluorosis, damages DNA repair enzymes, and increases your risk for cancer, hypothyroidism, genetic damage, and osteoporosis.|
|Water system operators have to be certified.||Higher lead levels are allowed in tap water than bottled water because lead pipes usually carry water from utility companies to homes. Tap water lead levels are set at 15 ppb and bottled water is set at 5 ppb.|
|To make water safe, bacteria and other organisms are killed when chlorine or another disinfectant is added.||Potential health affectsfrom microorganisms, disinfectants and their byproducts, inorganic and organic chemicals, and radionuclides include everything from eye/nose irritations to kidney and liver diseases.|
|The EPA gives you access to your annual local water quality report.||Giardia and Cryptosporidium are resistant to chlorine and can make their way into tap water if there are sanitation breakdowns.|
|No recycling issues as is the case for bottled water.||There are 170,000 different water suppliers, which means the quality of water in one area can be worse or better than the quality of water in another area.|
Bottled Water Pros and Cons
|Monitored and regulated by
the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
|The Natural Resource Defense Council (NRDC) claims plastic bottles contain phthalates, which can leach into bottled drinking water.|
|Versatile and easy to take
|According to NRDC, there are no strict limitations as to the number of contaminants that can be found in bottled water, such as E coli, arsenic, or pthalates.|
|According to Competitive Enterprize Institute (CEI), special treatments to remove impurities—such as distillation or ozonation—are performed on top of municipal filtrations by certain bottled water manufacturers, such as Aquafina and Dasani.||Seventeen million barrels of oil are used to make and deliver bottled water. According to the website, Ask Pablo, that amounts to 22 cents for every imported bottle of water.|
|According to CEI, bottled water offers consistent quality control, as each bottle is of the same quality as the previous one.||Bottled water processes often remove fluoridation benefits.|
|Lead levels for tap water are lower for bottled water than tap. According to Mama’s Health, tap water is set at 15 parts per billion (ppb) and bottled water is set at 5 ppb.||According to the NRDC, bottled water manufacturer’s do not have to list the water’s source, so bottled water could conceivably come from one of the 170,000 municipal water suppliers.|
|Bottled water comes in alot of varieties, from fizzy to flavored to vitamin enhanced.||According to the NRDC, bottled water manufacturer’s do not have to list how the water has been treated. Moreover, bottled water undergoes less testing than tap water.|
|According to Mama’s Health,
EPA and FDA water standards are nearly identical because the FDA usually adopts the EPA’s standards for bottled water.
|According to a 2005 MSNBC report, 40 million bottled a day are going into the trash and only 12% of plastic bottled are recycled, which is hard on the environment.|
|Bottled mineral water offers health benefits.||According to Search Warp, bottled water is only regulated across states lines, so if a company sells their water in the same state as they bottle it, FDA regulations don’t apply.|
So what does this all mean? Is tap water better than bottled water? It’s all in how you look at it. To examine the situation further, here’s a list of things you can do.
- Check your annual water quality report for your area. The EPA allows you to check such information, so click here to see your community drinking water report. I was able to determine from the 2007 report put out for my area where my water comes from, what my water contains, and how my water compares to state and federal water quality standards. I also learned the average arsenic in my water is 1 ppb and has been as high as 2 ppb.
- Read Red Alert: What You Should Know to Keep Our Drinking Water Safe and determine what you can do to ensure safe drinking water.
- If you are concerned about fluoride or lead in your tap water, you can purchase a home water filter. To find out EPA recommendations read Water Health Series: Filtration Facts or if you want my shortened version of EPA recommendations and my recommendations read My Water Decision.
- If you are concerned about standards for bottled water, you can: