From a health perspective, the difference between tap water vs bottled water is relatively insignificant.
Both tap water and bottled water are considered “safe” in the United States.
However, safe does not necessarily mean healthy.
Virtually every source of municipal tap water and all types of bottled drinking water contain some level of unhealthy contaminants.
The purpose of this page is to briefly summarize the health and safety factors of tap water vs bottled water.
Over the past few decades, savvy bottled water companies have spent mega advertising bucks to persistently program us into believing that the water they bottle is safer and healthier than our tap water. However, it is simply not true in most cases.
I have not found any studies or evidence to prove that bottled water is any healthier or safer than tap water.
In fact, certain brands of bottled water have been shown to have more contaminants than tap water due to the leaching of harmful chemicals from the plastic bottles. The scientific evidence is clear that all plastic bottles leach chemicals into the water.
One of the chemicals used to soften plastic, phthalate, is of most concern. Pthalates are known to cause reproductive disorders and liver problems.
Pthalates and other synthetic chemicals from plastic bottles are also known to increase the risk of cancer.
The chemical leaching from plastic bottles will increase if the water bottle is exposed to heat. Thus, never drink from a water bottle left in the sun or in the car on a hot day!
In addition to the problem associated with bad plastics, a study by the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) showed that about 25% of bottled water comes from a city water system.
According to the Food and Water Watch Organization, nearly 40% of bottled water is actually tap water.
According to Wikipedia, “The vast bulk of bottled water sold is simply re-processed municipal water. Both Aquafina from Pepsi-Cola company and Dasani from the Coca-Cola company are reprocessed municipal water systems.
"Some bottled waters, such as Penta Water claim special health benefits, though these claims are considered pseudoscience and rarely backed up with any verifiable evidence.”
There are always going to be variations in tap water quality in different municipalities, just as there are differences in water quality among different brands of bottled water.
So I do not want to generalize the health and safety benefits of one over the other.
However, like Pepsi’s Aquafina and Coca-Cola’s Dasani, most of the other leading brands use municipal tap water as their source as well—even though the labels on their bottles may depict images of natural springs and pristine mountains.
The point here is that you simply never know what you’re getting with bottled water!
So much depends on the water source and the water treatment of the bottler. And the bottled water industry is not well regulated.
The bottom line is that both tap water and bottled water contain contaminants and are not healthy for long-term consumption. But don't worry, there is a simple solution.
Using a home drinking water filter is not only a healthier choice; it is more economical, environmentally friendly and convenient! A home water filter will allow you to control the type and degree of filtration, saving you time and money.
Water filters range in price from about $25 for a water filter pitcher (with minimal filtration) up to $5,000 or more for a whole house water filter.
Even though $5,000 seems like a lot of money up front (and it is), it is actually a fraction of the cost that people are paying for bottled waters over a period of 10 to 15 years!