When we talk about drinking water, half of us may picture a plastic bottle filled with mineral, spring, or distilled water. The other half would remember filling their drinking glasses with water from the tap at home. Regardless of which type of water you drink, safety is your number one concern in choosing your drinking water.
Bottled and tap water have little differences in terms of taste. If you put each type of water through blind taste tests, you will most likely find that consumers cannot tell the difference between the two on taste alone. The differences in bottled water vs tap water lie in their components, safety, and regulations in ensuring the water is potable to drink.
In this guide, we'll look through the pros and cons of each type of drinking water to determine if one really is safer than the other.
Is tap water potable? In many states in the US, tap water is perfectly safe to drink, as long as you are not immunocompromised or sensitive in the gut. Tap water is the inexpensive, environmentally friendly option to bottled water, but is at the same time more prone to contaminants.
Tap drinking water is often contained in a centralized water supply, underground pipes, or through a waterline. While regulations differ from country to country, tap water in the United States is generally potable, and is a good alternative to expensive bottled water.
Compared to drinking bottled water, drinking tap water is generally inexpensive, and its contaminant count is relatively negligible. This type of drinking water is regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under the Safe Drinking Water Act, and is generally deemed safe for consumption.
Tap water is also accessible, with most households having safe water running through their tap. However, each city would have their own restrictions for households that have not paid their water bill. There are also filter attachments homeowners can use to ensure potable water coming from their tap!
While tap water is regulated, the pipes and taps that they come out of are not. Moisture is the basic necessity of all life, including water-borne microorganisms, mold, and mildew which can fester within pipelines, and grow on taps right where the water passes through.
When these organisms take over, they can spread germs and diseases to consumers drinking from the tap. In fact, public drinking fountains were found to host various bacteria and viruses, including norovirus and influenza A. Water pipes are incredibly difficult to clean, and these organisms breed faster than we can kill them!
Additionally, tap water may have unfavorable tastes from rusty pipes, dissolved minerals, or other contaminants. There have been numerous instances of tap water supplies getting contaminated, and consumers developed ill effects from drinking the contaminated water. Dust, dirt, and even decaying organic matter can get into water supplies, and contaminate them.
Bottled water is packaged in convenient plastic, aluminum, or tin bottles, and are the safest option for drinking water that you could get anywhere. Plastic water bottles are the most common form of bottled water material, but aluminum and glass have emerged for eco-friendly options.
Bottled water is the ideal water source for individuals with weakened immune systems, as well as areas that do not have access to potable water through their pipes or tap.
Bottled water is completely safe to drink. It is well-regulated by governing bodies, and bottled water brands take careful considerations to ensure their businesses run smoothly by providing their consumers with safe drinking water. Consumers can be assured that the top manufacturers of bottled water cleans their machines and pipes regularly as part of their business operations.
Thorough cleaning and filtration makes sure the water you drink is completely void of any contaminants, microorganisms, mold, or mildew that would otherwise affect the quality of water served. The International Bottled Water Association keeps their members in check, gathering only the best brands in bottled water production.
The best pro in bottled water? It's both potable and portable! Bottled water is convenient to carry around, and provides you with the hydration you need throughout the day. You can place the whole bottle in the fridge for an ice-cold drink as well.
If the bottled water is contained in plastic, then its biggest con is its environmental effects as plastic tends to degrade much slower than any other material. Plastic bottles are well-known for their environmentally degrading effects, as well as their ability to leach chemicals into the water when heated.
There are also myths surrounding bottled water that talk about Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations being too lenient with bottled water beverages, especially with flavored water. Bottled water consumption is also seen as an unnecessary practice, as most people can drink tap water without any ill effects.
Additionally, bottled drinking water is much more expensive than water from the tap. Depending on the brand and location, bottled drinking water may be priced as high as 10 times the price of tap water!
When deciding whether to drink bottled water or water from the tap, it is always a safer option to go for bottled water, especially if you're unsure of the source of water that is coming out of the tap. This is especially true when dining out, as you can never be too certain when the last time the restaurant's tap was cleaned, or verify the source of their tap water.
However, bottled water is strictly regulated by consumer protection agencies such as the Food and Drug Administration. These regulations ensure that every brand of bottled water is safe and potable for consumption, regardless of where you purchase the bottle.
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