Startling News About Bottled Water

Bottled water may not be any healthier or safer than tap water, according to Florida-based sports nutritionist and registered dietician Cynthia Sass, who says that fully 25 percent of bottled water on store shelves is actually just repackaged tap water!

A recent Gallup poll found that we drink bottled water for three reasons. We think it:

  • purer than tap water.
  • ...tastes better than tap water.
  • more convenient than tap water.

While it may be true that bottled water is more convenient than tap water, the benefits end there. "Bottled water doesn't deserve the nutritional halo that most people give it for being pure," Sass told Reuters. "If you're not an exclusive bottled water drinker, you may find it worthwhile to check into filtering your tap water to save money."

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulates bottled water because it's considered a food, but tap water is regulated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Both types of water are subject to testing for contaminates. However, when bottled water is packaged and sold within the same state, it is not subject to FDA regulation--and some 60 percent to 70 percent of all bottled water falls into this category. Buyer beware! Reuters reports that tests of 1,000 bottles of water representing 103 different brands found man-made chemicals, bacteria and arsenic in 22 percent.

Tap water isn't perfect, either. While the municipal water in most U.S. cities does meet the basic standards, some tap water in the 19 U.S. cities tested contained arsenic, lead and pesticides, according to Sass. Healthy adults can easily tolerate trace contamination with such pollutants, but those whose immune systems are compromised, such as cancer patients who are undergoing chemotherapy, those who are HIV positive or recovering from an organ transplant or major surgery, pregnant women, children and the elderly are far more vulnerable.

So what should you drink? Sass favors three options:

  • Bottled water treated with reverse osmosis.
  • Distilled water.
  • City tap water run through an in-home filtering system certified by the National Sanitation Foundation.

The findings were presented to the American College of Sports Medicine 11th annual Health & Fitness Summit in Dallas.

--From the Editors at Netscape

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