We drink bottled water because they are convenient and deemed healthy thanks to the ubiquitous ads picturing them as absolutely pure water. But a new university study suggests they are not any better than tap water because they do not contain disinfecting additives, such as chlorine, and are more likely to be a source of infection, the Daily Mail reports.
“Water coming from UK taps is the most stringently tested in the world. People think there must be something wrong with tap water because it is so cheap and plentiful. But from a safety and price perspective, tap water is better for you,” Professor Paul Younger of Glasgow University said.
Prof. Younger is one of UK’s leading experts on water. He is the author of the book Water: All That Matters which is the first to bring together the ecological, geographical, political, and scientific aspects of water.
“If the bottle is accidentally opened or someone tampers with it, then it can easily get contaminated,” Prof. Younger added. “There’s certainly a greater chance you could find something harmful in bottled water than from your taps. Ideally it should be drunk on the day it is opened, as it can easily pick up bacteria from someone’s hands or face.”
Tap water is typically subject to rigorous inspection and contains certain level of chlorine that prevent the spread of bacteria. However, makers of bottled water are only required to undertake monthly testing at source. Once filled and sealed, a bottle of water might remain in storage for months before it is sold, the article notes.
In the United States, more than half of all Americans drink bottled water and about a third of the public consumes it regularly, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). People spend from 240 to over 10,000 times more per gallon for bottled water than they typically do for tap water.