Due to questionable chemicals and pathogens that are present in many water supplies around the world today, many people are wondering if bottled water is better than tap water. Both water sources have their pros and cons, and the preferable source may depend upon the circumstance. Let’s take a look at a few of the pros and cons for bottled water and tap water.
Pros of tap water
- In the developed world, tap water is generally inexpensive, and due to water processing, it is fairly clean.
- Tap water is a convenient water source located right inside of our homes.
- You do not need to go to a store to purchase tap water, as with bottled water.
Cons of tap water
- Tap water may contain many other chemicals from the water supply. While wastewater treatment plants generally do a great job of eliminating disease-causing organisms, and they clean our water and make it safer in many ways, wastewater treatment may not always remove all other chemicals such as arsenic and pharmaceutical drug residues that are then present in the tap water that we consume.
- Public water supply systems can become contaminated with chemicals or pathogens that make tap water unsafe to use.
- Tap water can be filtered or purified at home, providing an inexpensive and convenient water source.
Pros of bottled water
- Bottled water is convenient when away from home.
- Bottled water may be preferred if tap water is potentially contaminated with chemicals and pathogens when no filter or purifier is available.
Cons of bottled water
- Bottled water may not be as safe and clean as assumed. Although many bottled water companies may use excellent water purifiers, some bottled water companies may simply use bottled tap water.
- Bottled water may take away from natural water bodies, communities, and ecosystems where the water is sourced from. In many places around the world, bottled water companies are seeking to use public water resources for profit, which may compete with the water needs of a local community or ecosystem.
- Bottled water often travels many miles away from its source to where it is finally consumed, leading to a large environmental footprint.
- Plastic water bottles commonly contain chemicals that are damaging to human health and the environment. Most plastic water bottles are made of plastic #1, which typically contains hormone-disrupting chemicals such as BPA that have been linked to reproductive and other health problems such as breast and uterine cancer and decreased testosterone. As these bottles break down over time under certain conditions such as sunlight, heat, and normal wear and tear, they leach out these chemicals. This is not only harmful for human health, but to wildlife and other organisms as well if these bottles are present in the environment and they begin to leach their chemicals.
- The production of these plastics also requires a lot of energy and resources, such as the oil that is used to make and transport them.
- Although the majority of plastic water bottles are recyclable, many of them still end up in the trash or out in the environment. Everyday, humans consume vast quantities of disposable plastic water bottles that never get recycled. In the U.S. alone, an estimated 50 million plastic water bottles are used each year. Out of every 167 of those bottles, only 38 are recycled. Many of these bottles also end up littering our landscapes, beaches, and the ocean.
- Bottled water must be purchased from a location away from home.
- Bottled water is expensive. If bottled water becomes someone’s primary source of drinking water, costs can quickly add up, especially if an entire family is relying on bottled water to drink.
Because of the negative impacts on human health, the environment, and the costs involved with bottled water, tap water is likely the best water source for most situations. However, due to chemicals and other contaminants that can exist in public water supplies, a high-quality water filter or purifier like this one will help to ensure a reduction or an elimination of these contaminants if they are a concern. Fill up your own reusable water bottle with purified tap water, and you are in business!
However, when one is traveling, or when tap water resouces are uncertain or questionable and a water purifier is unavailable, it may become necessary or even preferable to utilize bottled water. Be sure to recycle those plastic water bottles if you do use them!