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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 Water: Better Than the Tap?

By Anne Christiansen Bullers

It's a rare day that Kelly Harrison, a mother of five from Tulsa, Okla., doesn't find herself chauffeuring kids to some kind of sports practice or school activity. As she checks to see that each child is seat-belted into the family's minivan, Harrison also makes sure they've got the essentials: the right sports equipment, the right clothes, and what she considers to be the right drink--bottled water.

When she was growing up, Harrison, 34, might have grabbed a soft drink or juice on her way out the door. But for her kids, Harrison insists on what she thinks is a healthier choice--water. She says her children's young bodies need water as they play in the Oklahoma sun. Bottled water also contains no caffeine, no calories and no sugar. Plus, bottled water comes in convenient bottles, easy to tote from home to wherever the busy family goes. [See what Americans are drinking in 2002.]

"I really think this is best for a lot of different reasons," says Harrison, who often tucks a bottle for herself into the basket in her minivan that contains other on-the-go mom necessities, such as a paperback book and her cell phone.

Once, most Americans got their water only from the tap. Now, like Harrison, they're often buying their water in a bottle. At work, after a workout, or just about any time, Americans are drinking bottled water in record numbers--a whopping 5 billion gallons in 2001, according to the International Bottled Water Association (IBWA), an industry trade group. That's about the same amount of water that falls from the American Falls at Niagara Falls in two hours.

Explosive growth in the industry for more than a decade has placed bottled water in nearly every supermarket, convenience store and vending machine from coast to coast, where dozens of brands compete for consumers' dollars. In four years, industry experts anticipate that bottled water will be second only to soda pop as America's beverage of choice.

Water, of course, is essential to human health. Drinking enough water to replace whatever is lost through bodily functions is important. But surveys indicate that most of us might not be drinking enough. Is bottled water part of the answer? To decide, consumers need to arm themselves with knowledge about what they're buying before they grab the next bottle of Dasani, Evian or Perrier off the shelf. "It really pays to do your homework," says Stew Thornley, a water quality health educator with the Minnesota Department of Health.

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