kids at water fountain       waterbottles(4)

When did America become so thirsty that we needed to carry around a fresh water supply with us continuously? What did we do before bottled water became available? As a kid I don’t remember people falling over from dehydration in the streets because they weren’t carrying a water supply. Sure, as kids we would carry around plastic canteens while playing army, but I don’t recall the adults having a water supply attached to them. They would stop by the nearest drinking fountain and take a sip and keep on their merry way. If at home it was easy to fill up  a glass of water from the tap and have an unlimited supply of water. We never thought twice about the safety of tap water as it came from local municipalities and that meant it had to be good. We just turned on the kitchen sink, filled our glass with water, and drank it…a lot of it. It never had any adverse effects on us that we know about and generations before us had been doing the same thing. In recent decades sales of bottled water in this country have skyrocketed largely as a result of a public perception of purity driven by advertisements and packaging labels featuring pristine glaciers and crystal-clear mountain springs. But bottled water in the United States is not necessarily cleaner or safer than most tap water according to almost every scientific study made public. In fact 25% of bottled water comes from the same municipal supply as tap water. The water is treated, purified and sold to us, often at a thousandfold increase in price. Most people are surprised to learn they’re drinking glorified tap water, but bottlers aren’t required to list the source on the label. Aquafina, for example, is H2O that comes from public water sources. Nestle’ Pure Life and Dasani are just the same. It is a known fact that tap water is far more heavily regulated than bottled water. The Environmental Protection Agency, EPA, regulates tap water, while the FDA regulated bottled water. However, FDA regulations do not cover water that is packaged and sold within the same state, and so 60-70% of bottled water is fairly unregulated. Also bottled water is required to be tested less frequently than city tap water. So why the drastic surge in bottled water sales? Ironically, public concern about tap water quality is at least partly responsible for the growth in bottled water sales. But the major reason is perception fueled by marketing designed to convince the public of bottled water’s purity and safety. Marketing so successful that people spend from 250 to over 10,000 times more per gallon for bottled water than they do for tap water. This all came to light to me during a trip to San Francisco to visit my daughter and son-in-law. They took me to the Academy of Sciences Museum which is a beautiful museum inside Golden Gate Park and one of the most eco-friendly natural history museums in the world. I highly suggest giving it a visit if your in the Bay Area. The tour guide point blankly said that tap water is safer to drink than bottled water, not to mention the effect of plastic water bottles on the environment. Less than 25% of bottles are recycled. I was in disbelief when she told us about tap water in comparison to bottled water. I had long been a heavy water bottle user buying cases at a time from the supermarket. I didn’t care what the brand was, I just bought what was on sale at the time. As a kid, teen, and young adult I had never thought twice about putting a glass under the tap to get my drinking water and used public water fountains regularly. Then I too became suddenly dehydrated after seeing the bottled water commercials and needed to carry one with me constantly. I still buy bottled water, Arrowhead, for it’s convenience and the fact that if guests are over and I serve them tap water it’s likely to be left untouched. But I have gone back to putting my glass under the tap for a drink and honestly it feels strange. I have been so conditioned to think tap water is bad that it is tough to overturn that thought. I think the two best solutions are to attach an additional water purifier to your tap to take away any lingering doubts you might have and if you need to carry around a bottle for fear of sudden death due to dehydration just use one and keep refilling it. I see many younger people doing this which is note worthy. It’s also curious to note that the same people who are so afraid to drink from the tap have no problems with using the water fountain at the fitness clubs, which is just tap water cooled. ” Ever wonder about those people who spend $2.00 apiece on those little bottles of Evian water? Try spelling Evian backward” – George Carlin.



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