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Is Bottled Water Better Than Tap Water?

Bottled water is now considered the second largest commercial beverage category in the U.S., and sales are showing no signs of slowing. Even though bottled water has a higher cost when compared to tap water, it is still the fastest growing segment of the beverage industry, second only to soft drinks.

People consume bottled water for a variety of reasons: convenience, healthier than sugar-based drinks such as sodas and fruit juices, etc. However it cannot be denied that much of the popularity is driven by marketing strategies that insist bottle water is cleaner and safer than tap water. However, is that really true and is the additional cost of bottled water really worth it? Here are the facts.

  • Public water utilities are regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the federal Safe Drinking Water Act. Bottled water companies are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) under the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. The regulations for the bottled water industry are different, and less stringent than those a water utility must adhere to.
  • The average cost of our tap water is less than a penny per gallon. Depending on the size of the bottle purchased, bottle water can easily be more than a dollar per gallon.
  • Tap water contains small amounts of disinfectants to protect against bacteria and microbes, while most bottled water does not. Given this fact, bottled water should not be stored for a long period of time once it has been opened.
  • Tap water contains fluoride added at safe levels, recommended by the American Dental Association. This additive helps prevent tooth decay in children.