As the debate between tap water and bottled water continues to make headlines, it's important to separate facts from fiction. In this article, we'll debunk some of the most common myths surrounding tap water quality and safety. By the end, you'll have a better understanding of why tap water is not only a safe choice but also an environmentally responsible one.
Myth 1: Tap water is less safe than bottled water
Fact: Tap water in most developed countries is strictly regulated and monitored for safety. In the United States, for example, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sets stringent standards for over 90 contaminants in drinking water, including bacteria, viruses, and chemicals. In contrast, bottled water is regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which has less rigorous testing and reporting requirements.
Myth 2: Tap water tastes worse than bottled water
Fact: Taste preferences are subjective, but many blind taste tests have found that tap water is just as good, if not better than, bottled water. In a study conducted by Good Morning America, New York City tap water was chosen as the best-tasting option over several popular bottled water brands.
Myth 3: Fluoride in tap water is harmful to your health
Fact: Fluoride is added to tap water in many countries to help prevent tooth decay. The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) both endorse water fluoridation as a safe and effective public health measure. The levels of fluoride in tap water are carefully monitored and maintained within a safe range for consumption.
Myth 4: Tap water contains harmful levels of chemicals and pharmaceuticals
Fact: While trace amounts of chemicals and pharmaceuticals have been detected in some water sources, they are generally present at levels far below the limits considered safe for human consumption. Water treatment plants are designed to remove or reduce contaminants to ensure water quality and safety.
Myth 5: Boiling tap water makes it unsafe to drink
Fact: Boiling tap water actually helps to kill or inactivate harmful microorganisms that might be present, making it safer for consumption. However, boiling water will not remove chemical contaminants. If you are concerned about chemicals in your tap water, consider using a certified water filter instead.
Myth 6: Bottled water is always sourced from pristine springs
Fact: Many bottled water brands actually use tap water or groundwater as their source. The water is often treated and purified, but in some cases, it may not be significantly different from the tap water you receive at home.
Myth 7: Tap water causes cancer
Fact: There is no evidence to support the claim that tap water causes cancer. The EPA and other regulatory agencies set strict limits on potential carcinogens in drinking water to protect public health.
Myth 8: Chlorine in tap water is harmful to your health
Fact: While the taste and smell of chlorine in tap water can be off-putting for some people, it is used to disinfect water and protect against waterborne diseases. The levels of chlorine used in water treatment are considered safe for human consumption. If you prefer the taste of water without chlorine, consider using a water filter that is designed to remove it.
Myth 9: Bottled water is more convenient than tap water
Fact: Tap water is readily available in most homes, offices, and public spaces, making it a convenient option for staying hydrated. By using a reusable water bottle, you can easily refill it throughout the day and reduce plastic waste associated with bottled water.
In conclusion, tap water is a safe and environmentally responsible choice for hydration. Despite common myths surrounding tap water quality and safety, it is strictly regulated and monitored for contaminants, and taste tests have shown that it can be just as good or better than bottled water. Additionally, tap water is more convenient and cost-effective than bottled water, and by choosing it, you can help reduce plastic waste. So the next time you're thirsty, reach for a glass of tap water and enjoy a refreshing and sustainable alternative to bottled water.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2019, December 11). Boil Water Advisory. https://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/emergency/drinking/drinking-water-advisories/boil-water-advisory.html
- National Resources Defense Council. (n.d.). The Truth About Tap. https://www.nrdc.org/stories/truth-about-tap
- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. (n.d.). Drinking Water Contaminants – Standards and Regulations. https://www.epa.gov/dwstandardsregulations
- American Chemical Society. (2014, August 4). Chlorine: The Element that Keeps Pools Safe. https://www.acs.org/content/acs/en/pressroom/newsreleases/2014/august/chlorine-the-element-that-keeps-pools-safe.html
- Environmental Protection Agency. (n.d.). Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. https://www.epa.gov/recycle
- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. (n.d.). Drinking Water Regulations. https://www.epa.gov/dwreginfo/drinking-water-regulations
- Food and Drug Administration. (n.d.). Bottled Water Regulation and the FDA. https://www.fda.gov/food/buy-store-serve-safe-food/bottled-water-regulation-and-fda
- Good Morning America. (2007, February 22). New York Tap Water Takes on Bottled Water. https://abcnews.go.com/GMA/GlobalWarming/story?id=2904221
- World Health Organization. (n.d.). Water Fluoridation. https://www.who.int/water_sanitation_health/oralhealth/en/
- U.S. Geological Survey. (2019, February 13). Contaminants Found in Groundwater. https://www.usgs.gov/special-topic/water-science-school/science/contaminants-found-groundwater?qt-science_center_objects=0#qt-science_center_objects