Why not drink tap water?
Although public tap water for human consumption is purified in the majority of Western countries, it's estimated by the WHO that safe drinking water is inaccessible to more than 2.1 billion people. And even though public drinking water has been purified to make it safe for consumption, it can still contain trace amounts of contaminants such as toxic heavy metals, as well as chemicals added to the water supply such as chlorine, of which all can have a negative impact on health. Public tap water also often tastes unpleasant due to the added chlorine.
Purified bottled water has had these contaminants removed by an additional level of purification. FDA approved bottled spring water has not gone through the municipal water treatment process and is generally contaminant free. Spring water and purified drinking water bottled for public consumption is FDA regulated.
What is the difference between purified water and spring water?
What is purified water?
Purified drinking water is water originating from any source that has had contaminants or chemicals removed by means of an additional water purification process such as deionization, distillation, or reverse osmosis. The impurity levels in purified water have to be below 10 parts per million before bottled water can obtain a purified status. This means that in comparison to other types of drinking water, purified bottled water is subject to more stringent filtration treatment processes for removing impurities.
Types of purified water commonly used in bottled water:
1. Distilled water
Distilled water is a subtype of purified water that has had impurities removed by a distillation process, which involves collecting the steam from boiled water and returning it to water when cooled. This distillation process is extremely effective for the removal of contaminants such as viruses and bacteria, and protozoa such as giardia. Distilled water is so pure that it's made use of in laboratories and medical facilities.
2. Reverse osmosis water
The reverse osmosis water purification process removes impurities by using a partially permeable membrane as a filter. The water pressure from the tap pushes the water through the membrane as well as other filters to filter out the impurities. Reverse osmosis is a method used for making drinking water from the purification of seawater by the removal of the salt.
3. Deionized water
Tap water is normally full of mineral ions such as sodium and calcium from the soil, and iron and copper from the pipes and other sources. Deionized water is water that has had most these ions removed by means of a chemical process that makes use of ion-exchange resins that exchange hydroxide and hydrogen ions for minerals, then recombining to form water.
Advantages of purified water
The water purification process reduces the levels of potentially harmful chemicals and contaminants from the water to a level that's safe for human consumption.
Disadvantages of purified water
The water purification process can also remove beneficial minerals.
What is Spring Water?
Spring water is probably the most common bottled alternative to purified water. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, water has to originate from an underground source to be considered “spring” water.
Spring water may or may not undergo a treatment process prior to distribution, and is sometimes treated with a method that removes microbes and other impurities while preserving the mineral content. Although it's assumed that spring water originates from a “pure” source abundant in natural minerals and contamination free, contaminants such as phthalates, arsenic and coliform were found in bottled water by the NRDC.
Where does spring water come from that is commonly used in bottled water?
1. Spring water
Spring water has to be originate from a natural spring, an underground formation where there is a natural flow of water to the surface.
2. Artesian water
Artesian water comes from an aquifer, a layer of permeable rock which contains water. When the aquifer is tapped, the water is forced by the pressure to a level above the aquifer, sometimes to the surface creating a fountain. Water originating from artesian aquifers is often purer, according to the EPA, due to the contamination movement being impeded by the layers of rock and clay.
2. Mineral water
Mineral water comes from a spring containing a variety of mineral compounds. Mineral water originates from a physically and geologically protected underground water source such as bore hole or spring and can be tapped from one or more source.
Advantages of spring water:
Spring water contains a significant amount of minerals such as natural salt, potassium, magnesium and calcium, which are necessary for the function of the body.
Disadvantages of spring water:
According to the NRDC, because of inadequate regulation, a lot of bottled water labeled “spring water,” doesn’t actually originate from a natural spring.
What is the best water to drink?
This is a question that is best left for a future article as we believe that it should encompass bottled water in general to provide a comprehensively informed answer.
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