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Bottled Water Found To Be No Purer Than Tap Water

A recent study of 10 leading bottled water brands has shown a surprising array of chemical contaminants in every bottled water brand analyzed.  Two of 10 brands tested, Walmart's and Giant's store brands, bore the chemical signature of standard municipal water treatment — a cocktail of chlorine disinfection byproducts, and for Giant water, even fluoride. In other words, this bottled water was chemically indistinguishable from tap water. The only striking difference: the price tag.

Altogether, the analysis of these 10 brands of bottled water revealed a wide range of pollutants, including not only disinfection byproducts, but also common urban wastewater pollutants like caffeine and pharmaceuticals (Tylenol); heavy metals and minerals including arsenic and radioactive isotopes; fertilizer residue (nitrate and ammonia); and a broad range of other, tentatively identified industrial chemicals used as solvents, plasticizers, viscosity decreasing agents, and propellants.  The health consequences of exposures to these complex mixtures of contaminants like those found in bottled water have never been studied.

Americans drink twice as much bottled water today as they did ten years ago, for an annual total of over nine billion gallons with producer revenues nearing twelve billion dollars.