Is it better to drink bottled water than from the tap?

We review, with the help of a food safety expert, what is true in this widespread belief.

Do you think it is healthier to drink bottled water than the one that comes out of the tap in your house? Your argument for thinking this is that you are convinced that the one that comes in the bottle is free of chemical elements? You are not the only one. According to a 2017 report by the OCU, almost half of the population of The United States thinks like you.

Other people prefer to buy the jug of water because the tap water directly tastes bad, like lime or chlorine. This can be so since these substances and others are added to the liquid element to ensure that it is safe, that by drinking it we will not catch gastroenteritis or something much worse. The taste of the water is also influenced by the state of the pipes of the building in which we live, the area and even the type of water in each city and community. And although tap water does not taste the same in New York as it is in Los Angeles, it is safe. According to the technical report of the Ministry of Health, 99.5% of the network water in The United States is suitable for consumption. There are only isolated cases in which it is indicated as “non-potable water”. Therefore, the water that comes to us through the tap does not contain microorganisms or polluting substances .

Have you heard that weakly mineralized bottled water is better, especially for people who tend to develop kidney stones? This is still a marketing strategy that has no scientific evidence, since the formation of kidney stones is determined by many factors and not exclusively by drinking one type or another of water. If you have a baby and have been recommended bottled water, things change. His kidneys are more immature. Although they can consume tap water, weak mineralized water will control the amount of minerals that are provided in each baby food or bottle. Waters with more than 1000 mg / l of dry residue or with more than 200 mg of sodium per liter are not recommended. If we know the composition of the mains water and it is similar to these data, there is no problem, but if the water is very hard, we always have the option of bottled.

What is done with the water that passes through a water treatment plant and ends up coming out of the tap?

For the water that reaches our homes to be drinkable, it must go through different processes among which is the addition of oxidizing compounds to eliminate organic matter and heavy metals , others to stabilize the pH, flocculants to sediment ... Then it is decanted, with so clean water is on top and waste is on the bottom. It is then filtered again, this time using activated carbon to ensure that no substances are left that have escaped from the other procedures, as well as eliminate possible traces of the compounds that have been added to the water. Subsequently, this water is disinfected, to eliminate pathogenic microorganisms and prevent us from dying from having drunk a glass of water .

Disinfection is usually done with chlorine and yes, it is a powerful process. Disinfection is an aggressive process, but we must be calm since the amount of disinfectant is regulated depending on the quality of the water that has reached the treatment plant. Of course, as long as it is guaranteed that the legal limits are not exceeded. In these plants, the water passes more controls even than in the bottling plants. So no, there are no risks of poisoning.

Drinking tap water is much cheaper than buying it at the supermarket (up to three hundred times cheaper) and we will be helping the environment by reducing our consumption of plastic. If what we dislike is the taste, there is the option of getting a filter jug. Of course, be careful with jugs with filters, sometimes we don’t change them as often as we should and they are a significant accumulation of bacteria.

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