Watered down

OK, confession time – among my email subscriptions is one to eDiets.com. I know, I know. I’m a dork. I got it way back in January last year, when I started making a half-hearted effort to get healthier.

The email newsletters they send are more often than not full of step-by-step proper exercise articles and stories of how various women across the country have lost x amount of pounds by the x diet. But one article I found turned out to be verrrry interesting.

Turns out that soda consumption is down and bottled water sales are up. But is that bottled water really better than what comes out of your tap? According to this article, bottled is not necessarily better:

Looks can be deceiving. Television and print ads for bottled water show gorgeous pictures of crystal clear lakes and glacial springs, but did you know that much of the water sold in bottles is not from pristine lakes and clean aquifers, but straight from the tap?

In 1999, the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) conducted a four-year review of the bottled water industry, and conducted independent testing on more than 1,000 bottles and 103 brands of bottled water. They concluded that in the United States, there is no assurance that bottled water is any cleaner or safer than water from the tap. About 25 percent or more of bottled water is really just tap water in a bottle — sometimes treated, sometimes not. The NRDC reports that FDA rules for municipal tap water are more stringent than for bottled water. Although tap water is not permitted to contain any E. coli or fecal coliform bacteria, bottled water may. The NRDC says some bottled water may present a health threat to people with weakened immune systems, so choose a brand that‚Äôs got a good track record.

Wow! I was very surprised to hear that bottled water might contain E. coli or fecal coliform bacteria. I mean, with all these different waters now coming out – including the flavored type making a comeback through Aquafina, akin to the old-school Crystal Canadian bottles I used to love – it’s not like we will stand in front of the fridge in the store, reading the bottle to make sure that the water we’re thinking of buying has come out of a tap.

As for myself, I don’t think I’ve ever had a problem with tap water – filtered tap water, that is. The water I drink has always been either filtered through a refrigerator spout or through a Pur filter. And apparently, that’s the best way to go, especially if you want to be environmentally conscious (an aspect I actually didn’t consider before, but am now quite proud of myself for):

A home filtration system is a good bet. According to AllAboutWater.org, ‚Äúwater filters currently provide the best and healthiest solution to the problems of both bottled water and tap water.‚Äù Filtering gives you control over what’s removed from the water you drink, including systems that don‚Äôt filter out fluoride, for example. Filters are an inexpensive option compared to bottled water delivered to your home, about 30 to 50 cents per gallon on average vs. 89 cents to more than $2 per gallon. Drawbacks include having to periodically replace filter cartridges and possible instillation charges.

Still, why buy bottled tap water when you can filter your own? You’re paying for it anyway, in your taxes. And you’re kinder to the environment by not consuming plastic bottles.

Of course, whether L.A. water might be up to snuff might be another conversation all together….