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Bottled Water Same Quality as Tap Water, Says Study

Bottled water and tap water have the same level of chemical contaminants, according to an October, 2008, study.

The study, conducted by the Environmental Working Group, a Washington, DC, activist group, looked at 10 bottled water brands purchased in nine states and the District of Columbia. It found 38 chemical pollutants altogether, with an average of 8 contaminants in each brand. Four brands were also contaminated with bacteria.(

Two of the brands, Walmart’s and Giant’s store brands, were chemically indistinguishable from tap water, containing chlorine disinfectant byproducts. Giant’s brand also contained fluoride. These levels of chlorine byproducts exceeded the safety standards set by the bottled water industry and the state of California.

The lab at the University of Iowa found pollutants ranging from caffeine and Tylenol to arsenic, radioactive isotopes, ammonia and nitrate (fertilizer residues), and solvents, propellants, plasticizers, and others.

Concerned about estrogen-disrupting and cancer-promoting chemicals from plastic bottles, the researchers also conducted tests to see whether the bottled water brands spurred growth of breast cancer cells. They found one brand spurred a 78 percent increase in growth of breast cancer cells compared to the control sample.

Americans are drinking more than nine billion gallons of bottled water yearly, at a typical cost of $3.79 per gallon. But this study shows, and the EPA points out, “Bottled water is not necessarily safer than your tap water ( That’s because the EPA sets tap water standards, and the FDA sets bottled water standards based on the EPA’s tap water standards.

It seems clear that spending money on bottled water, only to get the same quality as tap water, isn’t wise. Instead, let’s consider a home water filter. A filter at your kitchen sink or icemaker can provide your family with plenty of clean pure water, bottled in safe containers you choose, such as stainless steel or glass. Such pure healthy water can be yours for only 8 cents per gallon.

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