It is hard to believe that two decade ago the thought of buying bottled water seemed ludicrous. Today, average price in the US is $2 per liter verses approximately .0005 cents at the tap – and there is really no difference.
Despite the marketing, bottled water is not safer or cleaner than the tap. In fact, tap water is subject to more stringent regulation than bottled water.
The EPA regulates tap water, while the Food and Drug Administration regulate bottled water. Perpetually under-funded and short-staffed, FDA has a poor record of protecting consumer health and safety. FDA sends inspectors to bottling plants once every two to three years.
Independent testing of bottled water conducted by the Environmental Working Group in 2008 found that 10 popular brands of bottled water, purchased from grocery stores and other retailers in 9 states and the District of Columbia, contained 38 chemical pollutants, with an average of 8 contaminants in each brand.
The results of a four-year study by the Natural Resources Defense Council of the bottled water industry, including its bacterial and chemical contamination problems entitled, “Bottled Water – Pure Drink or Pure Hype?” compares tap water vs bottled water and found major gaps in bottled water regulation and concluded that bottled water is not necessarily safer than tap water.