Back 2 Basics with Steve- H20 Part 2

Quality of Water

Now that we have discussed the hydration issue and the importance of consuming at least 8 cups of water a day, let’s tackle the quality of water you have to choose from. Do you know the difference between spring, filtered, purified and tap waters? You would be surprised. Let’s find out.

First of all, let’s establish two main sources of water—your tap and bottled water. You can drink tap water as is or filter it yourself.  Bottled water is the generic term for any type of water you drink from a bottle, plastic or otherwise.  Look at the label— it will tell you if it is purified, spring, or mineral water.

TAP WATER

1.) Straight from the tap: (running water, city water, municipal water, etc.) is potable water supplied to a tap (valve) inside the household or workplace.

2.) Filtered: Filtered water is water that has been passed through a device, which removes impurities.

BOTTLED WATER (The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, (FDA)-the federal agency that regulates all bottled water has established standards of identifying the classification of bottled water as these different types)

1.) Purified Water: This type of water goes through a process to remove all the minerals from the water.  The process can leave the water tasting rather flat, but clean of impurities.  Basically it is boiled, and the steam from that process is condensed and bottled.

2.) Spring Water: Is defined by the International Bottled Water Association’s Bottled Water Code of Practice as “water derived from an underground formation from which water flows naturally to the surface of the earth.” Generally means that it comes from an underground source and contains minerals. Water from a mountain with glaciers and flowing water comes to mind and is used in advertising.

3.) Mineral Water: The FDA classifies it as water containing at least 250 parts per million total dissolved solids (TDS), originating from a geologically and physically protected underground water source. No minerals may be added to this water.  However, the term “mineral water” is associated with any bottled carbonated water or soda water, rather than tap water.

What type of water we drink can be a major debate. Do we buy only bottled water because everything else is tainted? Check the labels – some bottled waters are just fancy tap water from the manufacturer.  For example, in 2007, Pepsi-Cola announced that the labels of its Aquafina brand bottled water would be changed to make it clear the product is tap water.  Ok, so what about filtering your own water?  Now I have to keep track of replacing filters every so often?!  Or do you just drink from the tap knowing that there is lead and other harmful ingredients that have leaked in from the ground that we humans have put there, but the levels are not dangerous because are acceptable by the industry standard?  What to do, what to do?

L4L’s suggestion:  Filter your tap water and use a reusable plastic water bottle (i.e. a Nalgene water bottle).  One popular type of kitchen filtration unit is an activated carbon filter that attaches to the kitchen sink. These filters treat general taste and odor problems, including chlorine residue. When water flows through carbon filters, contaminants adsorb or stick to the surfaces of the carbon particles. Activated carbon filters are reported to be the best method available for removing specific organic chemicals, including some pesticide residues.

Here are some brief, yet interesting facts related to bottled water (another reason to filter water yourself and use a reusable water bottle).

Some outrageous facts from the Business Insider:

  1. Water used to be free, now Americans are spending over $100 billion a year on bottled water.
  2. In 2008, the US drank more bottle water than beer or milk, on the average of 30 gallons per person
  3. To manufacture demand, beverage companies like Pepsi and Coke declared war on tap water through advertising.
  4. In 2009 a report from the Food and Water Watch said that almost half of all bottled water was derived from tap water.
  5. The production of water bottles uses 17 million barrels of oil a year, and it takes three times the water to make the bottle as it does to fill it.
  6. Of the 30 billion plastic water bottles sold in the United States in 2005, only 12 percent were recycled.

Regardless where you get your water, it will depend how comfortable you are with your source, how it tastes to and how you feel about the after effect of what your footprint leaves on this earth.

But the biggest thing we want you to remember is HYDRATION. You need to consume at least 8 glasses of water a day.  You decide where you get your water, but do get it, and drink it daily.