American consumers drink more and more bottled water every year, in part because they think it is somehow safer or better than tap water. But the truth is that, while tap water and bottled water are regulated differently, both are generally safe, healthy choices. However, bottled water costs about 500 times more than tap water, and plastic bottles raise significant environmental issues.
Bottled water is not necessarily any cleaner, or safer, or healthier than tap water. In fact, the federal government requires more rigorous and frequent safety testing and monitoring of municipal drinking water. The Environmental Protection Agency strictly regulates all public water under the Safe Drinking Water Act, while the Food and Drug Administration oversees the bottled water industry with less stringent regulations. In many cases, bottled water is actually filtered tap water.
All of the water that Zone 7 delivers to its retailers in Pleasanton, Livermore, Dublin and Dougherty Valley meets regulatory standards for drinking and, in almost all cases, the quality is much better than required. Meanwhile, we are taking several measures to improve the taste and aesthetics of our water. There are also things you can do, including cooling off tap water in the refrigerator, adding lemon to your tap water, and purchasing a low-cost carbon filter.
Also consider the environmental impacts of bottled water:
- The Pacific Institute estimates that in 2006, it took 17 million barrels of oil to make the plastic water bottles used by Americans, and that's not including the energy for transportation. Bottling the water produced more than 2.5 million tons of carbon dioxide and it took 3 liters of water to produce 1 liter of bottled water.
- Although most bottled water comes in recyclable PET plastic bottles, only about 13 percent of those bottles get recycled, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council. In 2005, 2 million tons of plastic water bottles ended up clogging landfills instead of getting recycled. Many plastic bottles end up as trash in our local streams and waterways.
- The NRDC cited some studies suggesting that harmful chemicals in plastic bottles can leach into the water over time, and called for further research.