Is Bottled Water Safer?

Is Bottled Water Safer?Is Bottled Water Safer?

The fad for bottled water began not long ago. It suddenly appeared in store windows and gradually grew in popularity. The demand further increased when rumors spread about nitrate - a common contaminant in many wells - found in Tehran’s drinking water supply. Too much nitrate can cause serious health problems for young infants. The rumors were enough for many to turn to bottled water, says an article in Iran.

But this time round, it’s not just fear of tap water that has fueled the bottled water boom. People are looking for a healthful way to quench their thirst, and bottled water is convenient; and compared to high-sugar, high-calorie choices, it’s a good choice.

 Not Same

All bottled water is not the same. Natural water means no minerals or chemicals have been removed or added to the product. Purified refers to processes that remove chemicals and pathogens. Some bottled water brands originated from public water (municipal) supply and were purified before bottling.

An official at the Institute of Standards says all bottled water is regularly checked for contamination and so far “no single threat has been detected.”

Dr. Rasoul Dinavand, head of Drug and Food Administration, dispels concerns about unsafe bottled water. As of now, there are trustworthy brands of mineral and purified water in the market. FDA monitors all the bottled water in the market and regularly tests them for quality. ‘’In our country, there are many good natural springs which provide healthy and good quality water,’’ adds Dinavand.  The real concern is how the bottles are preserved. Keeping them in the sun is harmful but some shopkeepers violate safety regulations.

 Is it better?

With the water shortage in Tehran assuming critical proportions and other worries about nitrate in tap water, is it worth spending more money on bottled water?

 According to the International Bottled Water Association, some 71% of users cite quality as the reason for buying. Quite simply, they say it’s better than what’s coming out of their taps. But water safety experts say except in isolated cases, this simply isn’t true. With the exception of a few instances of truly contaminated drinking water, most municipal systems and most bottled water sources are fairly equal in terms of pollutants and other health and safety questions. But for some individuals with health problems, bottled water can be a good choice.

While contaminants found in some municipal sources won’t bother the average person, some may be affected. Pregnant women, babies, the elderly, people who are immune-compromised, cancer patients, or those on long-term steroidal use may benefit from choosing certain bottled waters over their particular tap, says Brenda M. Afzal, a specialist from the University Of Maryland School Of Nursing.

Today, Americans consume the most bottled water in any country -- upwards of 25 billion liters a year, according to the Beverage Marketing Corporation. Iranians are lagging not far behind. Based on global statistics the country is ranked 14th.