Our bodies are composed primarily of water, between 55 to 78 percent. This is why water is vital to us. Human beings can live on water alone. In fact, we can last for several weeks just by drinking water. Without it, we can only last for a few days due to dehydration, causing our vital organs to malfunction and eventually fail.
Now, there are basically two sources of drinking water: tap and bottled water. What is the difference between the two?
Tap water comes from our taps or faucets at home. Although these are regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency, some water from taps are carried by lead pipes, which means that led can leach into the water you are drinking.
Bottled water is monitored by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It goes through sterilization and purification processes to rid tap water of any chemicals and substances that may be harmful to human beings. And because it’s also convenient to use and consume, many people prefer using it over tap water.
While there are proponents of the use and consumption of bottled water, there are those who oppose it, too. To better understand why, let us take a look at the pros and cons of bottled water.
List of Pros of Bottle Water
1. It is convenient to take with you.
Wherever you are, you’ll always find a store that sells bottled water. You can also carry it around with ease wherever you are, especially in places where there is no access to drinkable water or not guaranteed safe.
2. It helps prevent dehydration.
Because bottled water can be consumed wherever, whenever you get thirsty, you won’t get dehydrated. Bottled water can be resealed, ensuring that it will always be clean and safe to drink.
3. It is safer to drink.
Water placed in sealed bottles have been tested for all kinds of chemicals and bacteria. And because water in bottles are sealed, it has a lower risk for being contaminated with disease-causing germs.
The Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) said bottled water goes through special treatments like distillation and ozonation to make water free from impurities. It also offers better and more consistent quality control.
4. It tastes better.
Aside from the fact that bottle water comes in several varieties, like fizzy, flavored and vitamin-enriched, it generally tastes better because of the purification process it goes through.
5. It is cleaner.
Because the production of bottled water is strictly regulated, you can be sure that water is clean and contaminant-free. This is especially useful in times of natural disasters. Since water lines can be damaged in the event of a calamity, it would be unsafe to drink tap water. Thankfully, there is water contained in clean and sealed bottles that everyone can consume.
Aside from that, lead levels are lower in bottled water. In fact, tap water is at 15 parts per billion (ppb) while bottled water is at 5ppb.
6. It is readily available.
You can find different brands of bottled water in grocery stores and supermarkets. What’s more, bottled water comes in different sizes and content per container, ensuring that all nutritional needs are met.
List of Cons of Bottled Water
1. It costs more.
There are countries where bottled water is sold at relatively high price. These include Singapore and the United States, to name a few. However, this can be justified by the processes and materials required to produce clean and contaminant-free bottled water.
2. It contains chemicals.
According to the Natural Resource Defense Council (NRDC), plastic bottles used in containing water may contain high amounts of phthalates, which could leak into your drinking water. The NRDC also said that bottled water can also contain E.coli and arsenic, to name a few.
3. It can harm the environment.
This is because companies that process bottled waters use seventeen million barrels of oil to transport tons bottle water.
4. It removes can important benefit.
Due to the many processes bottled water has to go through, it has removed the benefits of fluoridation, which helps prevent tooth decay.
5. It increases the problem of waste management.
Although most plastic and glass bottles are recycle, a large number of these containers still end up in the trash, increasing the chances that they are going to be burned in landfills, which is one of the major causes of the decline of the ozone layer. In fact, the NRDC said that only 12 percent of the 40 million bottled water being produced every day is recycled.
6. Its source and processes are sometimes unknown.
The NRDC said that a lot of bottled water manufacturers do not list their water source, which could mean that it could be from one of the 170,000 municipal water suppliers. Aside from that, some companies also do not list how their water has been treated. This could mean that bottled water could undergo less testing than tap water.
7. Its sale is not well regulated.
According to a research company, the sale of bottled water is only regulated across state lines. This means that FDA regulations do not apply if a manufacturer sells their products in the same state as they are bottled. This could be abused by other manufacturers, which could put the people’s lives in danger.
Bottled water has definitely become quite useful when it comes to keeping people hydrated, especially in times when there is no access to clean, potable water. Bottled water has also made hydration easier and convenient since you can easily take a bottle or two with you, whether you’re going to the gym, on your way to the office or just around the house.
As for the impact of plastic and glass bottles in the environment, you can help minimize this by recycling the containers. You should also encourage other people to recycle. If you are concerned about the safety of bottled water, you can contact the International Bottled Water Association (IBWA) as well as read the EPA’s Water Health Series: Bottled Water Basics.
Natalie Regoli is a child of God, devoted wife, and mother of two boys. She has a Master's Degree in Law from The University of Texas. Natalie has been published in several national journals and has been practicing law for 18 years.