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Bottled water vs. tap water - Which is better for my family?

We’ve all heard the claims that bottle water is healthier because it comes from natural sources or because drinking it will “increase your vitality, refresh your emotions, and provide the cleanest water to your body.”

Should our drinking water come from our tap or should we purchase it in bottles?

Many bottled water companies lay claim that their water is sourced from only carefully-selected springs or it comes from a natural filter that took several ice ages to develop. There is really no simple, painless way to know with 100% certainty where the water for bottled water comes from – that is, unless you have time and money on your hands.

The next best solution is to look at studies that have already taken place. For example, research performed by the Environmental Working Group reveals that only one of the ten best-selling bottled water brands reveals its specific geographic water source and treatment method on the label.

Is it really important to know where the water comes from? Put simply, no – that’s why we have the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) monitoring bottled water companies. The FDA has requirements set that establish maximum contaminant levels for a variety of impurities.

The information that matters most is the quality of the water. We need to know what is in the water in order to determine how healthy it is. Where is this information located? For bottled water, the FDA has this information. As for tap water, the Environmental Protection Agency has numerous resources available for consumer viewing.

Another element to keep in mind is that tap water is tested for contaminants on a far more regular basis than is bottled water. Also, if there are contaminants present in tap water, local governments can issue warnings direct to specific address that could be affected; if the same are detected in bottled water, the information would need to be passed via news outlets.

All in all, does this debate have an easy answer? No. As with most other debates, there are pros and cons to each side. Does bottled water provide more vitamins and minerals than tap water? Are the alleged benefits of tap water worth the extra calories, sugar, and carbohydrates that may accompany them?

The best way to determine which option is better for your family is simple – decide what you are looking for in your water and do some research. Are you looking for an extra boost of flavor or vitamins? There are varieties of bottled water that may suit your needs. Are you looking to maintain a healthy intake of fluids? Depending on your taste, tap water (direct or filtered) can be just fine. It’s really about personal preference.B

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