Is Tap Water Healthier Than Bottled Water?
Tap Water vs Bottled Water
Is it better to drink bottled water or tap?
Water is essential to human life, and the quality of the water we drink can have a significant impact on our health. Many people are unsure about whether tap water or bottled water is the better choice, especially given the conflicting reports about the safety and quality of both. While both tap water and bottled water have been linked to contaminants, there are some significant differences between the two.
Tap water is the water that comes out of the faucet in our homes, schools, and businesses. It is treated by municipal water systems to remove contaminants such as bacteria, viruses, and chemicals before it reaches our homes. The treatment process includes filtration, disinfection, and sometimes the addition of chemicals such as chlorine or fluoride, which have known health effects. While tap water is generally considered safe to drink, there are still concerns about the presence of contaminants in some areas.
One of the main concerns with tap water is that it can contain contaminants like heavy metals such as lead, which can leach from old pipes and plumbing fixtures. In addition, some areas near farming communities or rivers may have elevated levels of nitrates, arsenic, or other contaminants that can pose health risks. It is important to note, however, that the vast majority of tap water in the United States meets all federal and state drinking water standards but that does not make it safe.
Is bottled water as safe as tap water?
Bottled water is water that is packaged in plastic bottles and sold for drinking. It is regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and must meet certain quality standards. However, bottled water is not necessarily safer or healthier than tap water. In fact, many brands of bottled water are simply tap water that has been filtered or treated in some way.
One of the main concerns with bottled water is the environmental impact of the plastic bottles. The production and disposal of plastic bottles contribute to pollution and waste, and many of these bottles end up in landfills or oceans. In addition, some studies have found that chemicals from the plastic can leach into the water, which can be harmful to human health.
Recent studies have revealed that microplastics, which are small plastic particles less than 5mm in size, have been found in different brands of bottled water. These microplastics come from the degradation of the plastic bottles themselves, and it has been found that the lowest cost plastic, known as Plastic #1 or also known as polyethylene terephthalate (PET), which is particularly prone to producing microplastics. This type of plastic is used in the majority of bottled water sold worldwide due to its low cost and durability.
However, the long-term health effects of consuming microplastics are still not fully understood, and it is a cause for concern. The presence of microplastics in bottled water is not only an environmental issue but also a potential public health concern. Studies have shown that microplastics can enter the human body through ingestion and inhalation, and there is evidence that they can cause inflammation and other health problems.
This is a worrying development as the consumption of bottled water has increased significantly over the years, and the widespread use of Type 1 plastic in the industry has contributed to the problem. As consumers, we should be mindful of the impact of our choices and seek alternatives such as reusable water bottles and tap water whenever possible.
Which is Better?
So, which is better – tap water or bottled water? The answer is not straightforward, as both have their advantages and disadvantages. Tap water is much less expensive and more environmentally friendly than bottled water, and it is regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which sets standards for water quality. However, tap water can contain contaminants, which a filter can remove at very high levels.
Bottled water, on the other hand, is convenient and portable, and some people believe it tastes better than unfiltered tap water. However, it is much more expensive than tap water and can have a negative impact on the environment. In addition, bottled water is not necessarily safer or healthier than tap water as bottled water is stored in the cheapest single use plastic bottle that manufacturers can make which have been found to leach into the water by independent investigators.
Both tap water and bottled water have their advantages and disadvantages, and it ultimately comes down to personal preference. If you are concerned about the quality of your tap water, you can purchase a water filtration system or use a filtered water bottle. However, it is important to remember that both tap water and bottled water can contain contaminants, and the best way to ensure your water is safe is to have it tested regularly by a certified laboratory and use a filter when possible.