One in three people in the world do not have access to clean drinking water. If you do, consider yourself lucky. It is always good to be well informed about local drinking water quality. Try to get as reliable information about quality of local water as possible, so that you know if it’s good for drinking. It’s important to be sure that levels of contaminants are within safe range.
That being said, if your tap water is safe, it’s probably much better choice than bottled water.
One of the advantages of bottled water is that it may have reduced amounts of copper, lead, and other metal contaminants since it does not run through the plumbing pipes where tap water is exposed to metal corrosion; however, this varies by the household and plumbing system.
In much of the developed world, chlorine is often added as a disinfectant to tap water. If the water contains organic matter, this may produce other byproducts in the water such as trihalomethanes and haloacetic acids, which have been shown to increase the risk of cancer.
The amount of these chemicals, however, is usually so small that it should not be a concern. Because nothing is ‚100% safe, nothing is 100% risk free. But tap water, in places where it is good for drinking, is usually strictly controlled, and the amounts of contaminants/chemicals are within safe levels. With bottled water, on the other hand, it is not always the case.
Furthermore, bottled water can contain traces of plastic that leaks from the bottle: bisphenol A and phtalates. If you still choose to drink bottled water, try to see if you can find water in bottles made of glass.
Plastic substances that can leak in the bottled water function as xenoestrogens, that is naturally occurring or artificially created compounds showing estrogen-like properties. They can cause hormonal disturbances, they can have feminizing effect on males and they can even cause infertility. Apart from obvious effects, these substances can contribute to host of other diseases and health problems: phthalate exposure in particular may be associated with diabetes and insulin resistance, breast cancer, obesity, metabolic disorders, and immune function disorders.
Furthermore all that plastic that’s produced for plastic bottles is not good for environment, plastic is very slowly decomposed in the environment and can accumulate there for centuries causing damage.
Also, the cost you have to pay is certainly not good for your budget. It’s really crazy that so many people choose to pay money for a product that’s inferior to what they already have at home virtually for free.
This does make sense in countries with poor tap water quality, but in almost all developed countries the quality standards for tap water are actually higher and stricter than for bottled water. In some studies, bottled water samples have been found to have higher content of bacteria than tap water samples.
If you really are concerned about possible contaminants in your tap water you can consider buying a water filter. It’s a long term investment and is much better than spending money on bottled water. But before that, it’s much better to simply check the quality of local water supply. If it is good there’s no need for filters either.
In fact some things like minerals shouldn’t be filtered at all. “Hard water” that causes problems to your washing machine is in fact excellent for drinking because it is a natural source of calcium and magnesium. Mineral water companies advertise high mineral content of their water, and yet some people think that you shouldn’t drink water that creates a lot of limescale. In fact the opposite is true, if limescale forms out of your tap water, it simply means that your water is a rich natural source of minerals and therefore much healthier than so called “soft water”.
All in all, the most important thing to remember is that you need to be well informed about the quality of your local tap water supply. If it is adequate, chances are that your tap water is a way better choice, for your budget, for your health and also for the environment. Legal quality standards for bottled water are less strict than for tap water, so bottled water can have potentially unsafe levels of certain chemicals, chiefly hormone disturbing plastic compounds.