Bottled Water vs Tap Water

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Elizabeth Young
BIO 220
January 27, 2013
Trent McDowell

Filter This: The Advantages of Bottling Your Own Water
Water, life’s most essential element. Is your consumption of this life giving liquid eradicating the Earth as we know it? Bottled water has become a huge trend in the US and the world today. “In 2007, Americans spent $11.7 billion on 8.8 billion gallons of bottled water,” (Palliser, 2010, p1). They are on the shelves of every convenience store, supermarket and vending machine. They are in the hands of some of the world’s most elite, in 2011, “the House of Representatives spent about $750,000 on bottled water,” (Resetarits, 2012, para 5). Is all of this bottling necessary? Is bottled water healthier, better for you, more economical, or better for the environment? If not, why does America continue to drink at such an alarming rate, and is there an alternative? Bottling your own tap water, filtering out the impurities, costs only a fraction of purchasing bottled water, and can save up to 1,000 years of decomposition on each and every plastic bottle that does not get recycled. When choosing your water, there seem to be endless options. There are bottled waters labeled Artesian, Mineral, Spring, Purified, Municipal, and Well. What do each of these mean? Artesian water is “Water that taps an aquifer layers of porous rock, sand and earth, usually deep underground that contain water,” (Klesig, 2004, p2). This water can be very pure due to the layers of sediment that often prevent contaminants from migrating into the water. Despite claims of the bottlers however, there is no indication or guarantee that this water is any purer than ground water. Mineral water is “water from an underground source that contains at least 250 parts per million total dissolved solids. Minerals and trace elements must come from the water source,” (Klesig, 2004, p2). Spring water is water “derived from an underground formation from which water flows naturally to the earth’s surface,” (Klesig, 2004, p2). This water can only be collected at the source and this water is not guaranteed to be any purer than surface water. Municipal water is “city water filtered and treated with chlorine or other disinfectants to eliminate harmful microorganisms and aid in ensuring a safe water supply,” (Klesig, 2004, p1). Well water is “water from a hole bored or drilled into the ground, which taps into an aquifer,” (Klesig, 2004, p2). Purified water is water that has been treated in order to remove contaminants, minerals and other objects in the water. “Bottled water that has been treated by distillation, reverse osmosis or other suitable process and that meets the definition of purified water can be labeled as purified water,” (Bullers, 2002, p4). As you can see, the only water guaranteed to be purer than surface water is purified water. However, purified water lacks minerals such as calcium and fluoride found in tap and ground water sources. People who drink mostly bottled water, especially children, need to be aware of this and consider supplements to replace this. The supplements are generally recommended for children ages 7 to 16 and cost around $60 per year. (Bullers, 2002, p4). “All tap water samples [in a study conducted in 2000] had fluoride levels within the range recommended by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, whereas only three samples (5%0 of bottled water did. The majority of these samples contained less than one third of the optimal fluoride level recommended to prevent tooth decay,” (Kennedy, 2000, para2). The cost of bottled water is the next factor to consider. Bottles of water cost around $2.50 per liter ($10.00 per gallon) “bottled water cost more than gasoline,” (Owen, 2006, p1). “It makes more sense to pay $0.002 to $0.003 per gallon for tap water than hundreds to thousands more for water in a bottle,” (Food & Water, 2010, pg1). If a person also considers the $60 per year per person for fluoride...
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