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Filtered Water vs. Bottled Water

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The debate on filtered water vs. bottled water is not new. Many researchers have, in the past, gone out of their way to determine the major differences between the two. Surprisingly, nothing seems to be different except the filtration. Or is it?

Pure as many people would want to think bottled water is, studies have shown that purity claims of some bottled water are far from the truth. Some bottled water contains bacterial or chemical contaminants which pose a risk to people’s lives. In 1999, NRDC tested bottled water and found phthalates in some water exceeding EPA standards for tap water.

These disturbing revelations have left many people wondering which water is safe for them. Advocates for bottled water argue that the water is safer, better and more practical. On the other hand, advocates for tap or faucet water argue that this is an all-natural resource that no one should spend to get. Both parties may be right to some extent but there are some facts that cannot be disputed.

Fact #1: Bottled Water is Simply Filtered Tap Water

Many people argue that bottled water tastes better but surveys have shown that the ordinary palette can hardly tell the variation. Bottled water companies only use filters to eliminate contaminants such as chlorine, after that the bottled water is ready for sale. Some use reverse osmosis filtration, but this same process can be done at home using tap water, and the water tastes pretty much the same.

Fact #2: Filtered Tap Water is Environment-Friendly

Bottled water has contributed to the degradation of the environment. Plastic bottles are recyclable but only one-third of the bottles are actually recycled. The bigger percentage ends up in the landfills. Tap water, on the other hand, can be obtained right at home, and do not need any materials for packaging, nor transportation, nor waste, giving it literally no carbon footprint. This makes tap water, and filtered ones, environment-friendly.

Fact #3: Tap Water is More Regulated Than Bottle Water

Tap water is regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) while bottled water is regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The EPA is known to have stricter rules than the FDA. A case in point is the fecal coliform bacteria restrictions. While EPA has full restriction for these bacteria, FDA permits it in some capacity.

Fact # 4: Tap Water is Cheaper Than Bottled Water

Other than the monthly water bill, there are no longer any costs incurred for tap water use. When filtered, tap water only has two added costs – the initial purchase cost of the filtration product (such as the pitcher water filter), plus the cost of replacing the filter when the need arise. Bottled water, on the other hand, can cost as much as a gallon of gasoline, with the single-use plastic bottles pushing the prices even higher.
 
Photos: BanTheBattle.com/Brita

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