Why Do We Drink Bottled Water?

Posted on August 4, 2005

In a New York Times editorial Tom Standage points out that bottled water must be a lifestyle choice since it is not healthier than bottled water according to a couple studies he cites.

Nor is there any health or nutritional benefit to drinking bottled water over tap water. In one study, published in The Archives of Family Medicine, researchers compared bottled water with tap water from Cleveland, and found that nearly a quarter of the samples of bottled water had significantly higher levels of bacteria. The scientists concluded that "use of bottled water on the assumption of purity can be misguided." Another study carried out at the University of Geneva found that bottled water was no better from a nutritional point of view than ordinary tap water.

Admittedly, both kinds of water suffer from occasional contamination problems, but tap water is more stringently monitored and tightly regulated than bottled water. New York City tap water, for example, was tested 430,600 times during 2004 alone.

Standage does write that bottled water is more portable than tap water which is probably the most frequent use of bottled water. He also writers about how we are able to have a choice between bottled water and tap water while water is still scarce in parts of the thirld world.

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