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Jewish Recipes --> Food and Health --> H2O - Tap Water or Bottle Water -- L'chaim

Consult your Doctor, FDA and your local Water Company.

Bottled vs. Tap

Whether bottled water is better than tap water, and justifies its expense, remains under debate. Stephen Kay, vice president of the IBWA, says member bottlers are selling the quality, consistency and safety that bottled water promises, and providing a service for those whose municipal systems do not provide good quality drinking water.

"Bottled water is produced and regulated exclusively for human consumption," Kay says. "Some people in their municipal markets have the luxury of good water. Others do not."

Thornley, of the Minnesota Department of Health, agrees that consumers can depend on bottled water's safety and quality. But he says consumers should feel the same way about the quality of their tap water. Tap water may sometimes look or taste differently, he says, but that doesn't mean it's unsafe. In fact, the most dangerous contaminants are those that consumers cannot see, smell or taste, he says. But consumers don't need to worry about their presence, he adds. Municipal water systems serving 25 people or more are subject to the federal Safe Drinking Water Act. As such, the water constantly and thoroughly tested for harmful substances, he says. If there is a problem, consumers will be warned through the media or other outlets.

"In lieu of being told otherwise, consumers should feel confident of the safety of their water," Thornley says.

Dr. Robert Ophaug, a professor of oral health at the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry, notes that tap water has another advantage many people don't think about: It typically contains fluoride. Many communities have elected to add fluoride to drinking water to promote strong teeth and prevent tooth decay in residents, though some groups continue to oppose this practice and believe it's detrimental to health.

Ophaug says bottled water often does not have fluoride added to it. Or, if it has been purified through reverse osmosis or distillation, the fluoride may have been removed. People who drink mostly bottled water, especially those who have children, need to be aware of this, he says. They may need to use supplemental fluoride that is available by prescription from dentists or doctors. The supplements are usually recommended for children ages 7 to 16. Fluoride supplements cost around $15 for a three-month supply.

"At the least, inform the children's dentist or doctor that you are relying on bottled water," Ophaug says.

The IBWA says there are more than 20 brands of bottled water with added fluoride available to consumers today. When fluoride is added to bottled water, the FDA requires that the term "fluoridated," "fluoride added," or "with added fluoride" be used on the label. Consumers interested in how much fluoride bottled water contains can usually find out by contacting individual companies directly.

 
 
 
 

Surging Sales

Consumers don't appear ready to give up their bottled water any time soon. Younger, health-oriented people are driving the market's growth, according to industry officials. "They've grown up with bottled water, and it doesn't seem like such a stretch to them to buy water," says Kay.

Jeremy Buccellato, 31, of Ramsey, Minn., says he's heard the arguments that tap water is just as good if not better than bottled water. A glass from his own tap, however, provides water that's discolored, chlorinated, and tastes like "pool water." Buccellato says the extra money he spends on bottles of Dasani water is worth it.

"It tastes better and looks better, plus it's easy to take with me," says Buccellato. "What's not to like?"

Harrison agrees that there's nothing like a refreshing cool bottle of water to beat the heat during an Oklahoma summer.

"It's a product that fits our needs and our lifestyle," she says.

Anne Christiansen Bullers is a free-lance writer in Prairie Village, Kan.

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Sept 2005 - 2014 - Kosher Recipes - Kosher Cooking - Jewish Cooking - Jewish Recipes - Jewish Foods