Health Benefits of Tap Water
Trust in the Tap
Is bottled water somehow better for you than plain tap water? And is it okay to drink tap water without using a water filtration device?
The verdict: Both tap and bottled water meet safety standards.
Many people believe that because bottled water goes through a filtration process that improves its taste, odor and color, it's also healthier for you. Filtration eliminates possible contaminants such as lead, parasites and byproducts of chlorine, so it has to be better, right?
Not exactly. "While [filters] can reduce exposure to [harmful] elements, it doesn't necessarily mean bottled water will be better for your overall health," says Katherine Patton, a registered dietician and certified sports dietician.
The Safe Drinking Water Act was enacted in 1974 to ensure that all drinking water that is "actually or potentially designed for drinking use, whether from above-ground or underground sources," must meet minimum safety standards established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.In the US, tap water is already treated to remove particles, chemicals and bacteria. During the process of treating public water, chlorine is added as a disinfectant.
Of course, many people buy bottled water for its taste and portability. But if you're buying it because you believe it's safer than water from the tap, you may want to start heading to the sink to fill up your glass.
If our water in the US is among the cleanest in the world, why do people still drink bottled water?
In a recent interview with Duke University professor and author James Salzman, the SUEZ North America blog asked this very question.The answer is that water choices, like many other ones, are heavily influenced by marketing to the point that bottled water sells for up to 1,000 times the price of tap water.
In Drinking Water: A History, Salzman’s research shows that since the early 90s when Coke, Pepsi and Nestle entered the bottled water market and the consumption of bottled water skyrocketed, Americans have seemingly had an ambivalent relationship with tap water. Whereas, in the 70s, if someone went into a gas station and asked for water they would have been directed to the hose outside.
On the flip side, more recently many environmental groups have used public relations campaigns to raise awareness of the environmental impact of bottled water. Pressure is rising on the bottled water industry to be more responsible in the packaging and those who want to live a more environmentally conscious lifestyle have taken to drinking tap water from refillable bottles