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Why People Drink Bottled Water
 by: Jim Allen

During the course of a year, more than 50% of all Americans will drink some brand of bottled water. With the cost of water as much as $2.50 per liter - translating to over $10 per gallon - the big question is why would someone pay this much for something that can easily be obtained from the nearest tap?

One third of the people who drink bottled water do so because of concerns about the safety of tap water. Another third drink it as a substitute for other beverages - like coke, juices, lemonade, etc. The remainder, drink it for convenience, taste, peer pressure, prestige, or a combination of other reasons.

Much of the increase in the number of people drinking bottled water is due to aggressive marketing by the bottled water industry which promotes the perception that bottled water is safer and more pure than tap water.

It is true that most bottled water contains no detectable level of contaminants, but that is also true of most tap water found in major cities. Not only that, but we've also seen scams in the past where some bottled waters have been filled with tap water. So we can't just assume that because water is bottled that it is safer than tap water.

California is the largest consumer of bottle water in the nation. California also has the most stringent water standards in the country. Other states have little or no standards on bottled water testing. Therefore, the quality of the bottled water that you have access to, largely depends on where you live.

The most common contaminants tested for are:

Coliform bacteria - while not dangerous by themselves, their presence often indicates the presence of other more serious bacteria.

Synthetic chemicals - with more and more companies dumping their waste into public waters, synthetic chemicals are showing up in water tests. Many of these synthetic chemicals are so new that no one knows what long-term effects they may have on the human body.

Fluoride - especially important for women concerned about bone loss. Excessive fluoride levels can cause adverse effects on bones.

Arsenic contamination - this is a well known human carcinogen. If the water is from communities near mining companies or other industrial companies, the groundwater may be contaminated with arsenic.

Chloroform - another human carcinogen. Also thought to poison the liver and have adverse effects on the heart.

Nitrates - the controversy still rages over whether this is or is not a carcinogen. Many health nutritionists believe that it is a cancer trigger.

Water is, next to oxygen, the most important and essential element necessary to life. But regardless of what the bottled water ads may lead you to believe, this does not mean that all bottled water is better or even as good as the tap water from your facet.

About The Author

Jim Allen is researcher for

This article was posted on September 22, 2006


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