Rasmussen College – Online
Bottled vs. Tap Water
With the environmental decline of our natural resources, why do we consume so much bottled water in the world, knowing that it is polluting our oceans as well as our lands? Bottled water is an industry that sells more than 200 billion liters of water per year, mainly sold in North America and Europe (Gleick & Cooley, 2009). People buy into the belief that our tap water is not as safe as drinking bottled water. In this paper, I will give arguments on both sides. Is our bottled water safer, what is our bottled water’s environmental impact compared to our tap water? I will give information on both sides.
As we are purchasing more water around the world we are questioning what impact it has on the environment. It takes energy to make bottled water and with each year that passes the industry is increasing the production of bottled water, the transportation of bottled water and of course this means consumption by the consumer has increased. It is estimated that over 200 billion liters of water is sold yearly. There are six types of bottled water that is produced. Spring water which is water that comes from an underground source and flows naturally to the earth’s surface, with less than 500 parts of total dissolved solids. Mineral Water which is the same as spring waters with the exception it has more than 500 parts of total dissolved solids. Well water which is the same as spring water; however, it is pumped to the earth’s surface. Artesian well water; this water rises to the earth’s surface on its own from a confined aquifer. Purified water and this water can come from tap water or an underground source. This water is also referred to as distilled water, deionized water and reverse osmosis water. Carbonated Water which is water containing some kind of carbonation, either by adding the carbonation or it can occur naturally. This type of water can come from a spring, community, or a well water supply. The largest sales of purified water come from Coca-Cola, which produces Dasani bottled water, Pepsi Cola, which produces Aquafina bottled water and Nestle’, which produces Pure Life and other brands. Nestle is also the largest producer of spring water (Gleick, Cooley, 2009). Bottled water is regulated by the FDA (Food & Drug Administration), where as tap water is regulated by the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency). Bottled water has strict standards granted by the FDA, but there is one argument pertaining to this. Bottled water companies do not have to be FDA inspected if they are not selling out of their particular state. Only if the water is being transported out of its state line will the FDA inspect the bottled water. This in itself is a bit scary. It is predicted that 70% of the water produced and sold is from its own state (Brown, J, 2008). The EPA has rigorous testing and the regulatory groups perform more than 100 types of testing on tap water monthly for certain bacteria (EPA, n.d.). The production of bottled water must follow the current good manufacturing regulations and practices that are set up and enforced by the FDA. Even if they are not the final inspectors, they manufactures must follow the sampling of the water for safety and to make sure it is sanitary (Bullers, A., 2002). Some examples of bottled water treatment are as follows: Distillation – This process is where water is turned into a vapor. The materials in the water that are too heavy to vaporize are left behind, returning the vapor back into water form. Reverse Osmosis – this process is where the water is forced through membranes to remove any minerals in the water. Absolute 1 micron filtration – This process is where the water flows through filters that will remove any particles larger than one micron in size such as cryptosporidium, a parasitic protozoan. Ozonation –