Is Bottled Water Safer than Tap Water?

The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is responsible for the safety of bottled water. The quality standards for bottled water are confusing and complex because some laws only apply to bottle water transported across state lines. Adding to the complexity, each state has a State Department of Public Health which is responsible for enforcement of laws and regulations that limit the amount of contaminants in bottled water.  States with limited resources may not monitor or enforce water standards.

The National Resource Defense Council examined bottled water and found many samples contained chemicals and bacteria in amounts exceeding guidelines.  The Environmental Working Group found that many bottled water labels and company websites did not have information about water test results. Some companies posted information on their website and others did not or the information was difficult to find.

According the FDA website, the FDA requires all companies to

1.  Process, bottle, hold and transport bottled water under sanitary conditions

2. Protect water sources from bacteria, chemicals and other contaminants

3Ensure bacteriological and chemical safety by using quality control processes

4.      Sample and test the source of water and the finished product for contaminants.

Plastic bottles, in-which the water is contained, are made of polyethylene terephthalate (PET). PET is thought to be stable with minimal leaching of chemicals into the water.


Is bottle water safer than tap? The question cannot be easily answered.  Use the information in this article to research the company and the product.