Is Bottled Water an Answer?

The deteriorating taste and quality of tap water and the fear of unknown contaminants have made bottled water a solution for many families. In fact, it is one of the fastest-growing “beverages” on the market, surpassing that of tea, wine, liquor, powdered drinks, and juice. Customers report that their primary reason for buying bottled water centers around taste, but other reasons are safety and concerns about chemicals in tap water.The question remains, is bottled water worth the difference in cost, at an average cost of 700 times more than plain tap water?

As far back as March 2000, popular radio commentator Paul Harvey reported on a congressional panel that accused the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of not properly regulating the bottled water industry. Strict rules govern both bottled and tap water industries. Public water utilities are governed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), while bottled water, however, isconsidered a food and is monitored by the FDA. A report from the Natural Resources Defense Council in Washington found that microbiologic contaminants exceeding allowed levels were found innearly one third of the bottled water samples tested by the FDA. The FDA is responsible for setting standards for bottled water, making sure that it is tested periodically and to inspect bottlers’ test records as well as sanitary conditions. As Mr. Harvey reported, the panel contends that the FDA is not doing its job and also said that tap water may be safer to drink than bottled water! (This is a serious indictment against an industry which insofar as the consumers are concerned, perceive that they are purchasing safe, clean, quality water.)

Consider the following information regarding this ‘food’:

û Storage of bottled water, often for weeks or months at room temperature and higher, promotes bacterial growth in the water. Elevated levels of bacteria in water can cause health problems for infants, the elderly, and immunocompromised people.

û Benzene, a chemical known to cause cancer in humans, was detected in bottles of a major bottled water company at levels that exceeded by four times the EPA standards for tap water.

û Municipal water supplies are used as the source for approximately 25% of the bottled water sold in the United States.

û Two major soft drink manufacturers, entering the bottled water market, were found to be using municipal water sources while representing the water as mineral or mountain spring waters.

û The word ‘natural’ is allowed for bottled water if any natural chemical (mineral and trace elements) has not been altered as a result of a treatment process.

“Water suppliers have an obligation to produce safe, clean drinking water, whether it comes from a tap or a bottle,” says American Water Works Association executive Director Jack Hoffbuhr. “Unfortunately, the public remains uninformed about bottled water quality, including what – if any – treatment water bottlers undertake before selling their product.”

The bottom line: bottled water may not be the answer both for health and economic reasons. A family purchasing water at discount center prices could easily spend close to $600 in one year’s time for only 600 gallons of water. This would not include the multitudinous number of bottled water sales at convenience stores which can run close to $2.00 for a single 32 ounce bottle! Safe, clean drinking water, is available with the AquaRain, for less than 1/2 of a penny! Is bottled water an answer to our needs? For the wise and the prudent, a quality water filter system at home and then the morning fill of your own sports bottle makes much more sense.

The Curse of Contaminated Water

Is there a ‘hidden, unspoken’ problem associated with the quality of the drinking water in the U.S.? When water quality in third world countries is discussed, no one is surprised to hear that the problem faced in their drinking water always surrounds bacterial, parasitic, and viral contaminations. Here in the United States, we assume and/or are told by the pundits, that our main concern deals with heavy metals or chemical contaminants, ie: lead, copper, nitrates. While never diminishing the concerns we have with regards to these issues, microbial contaminants are by far the greater threat, and you may find the following information alarming.

There are three basic categories of pathogen that can be found in water. The first is protozoa which is the largest organism of the three categories, ranging in size from 1-16 microns. Protozoa include the well-known Giardia Lamblia, and the not-so-well-known Cryptosporidium Parvum, which have been detected in 90% of U.S. surface water. These protozoa are more resistant to disinfection by chlorine or iodine than either bacteria or virus, but can be effectively filtered. The second category is bacteria, which are considered intermediate sized organisms, ranging from .2 to about 10 microns. Bacteria include such commonly-known organisms as Typhus, Campylobacteria, E. coli, Vibrio cholera, and Salmonella. The third category is viruses, which are truly tiny in size between .02 and .085 microns. Commonly known viruses include Rotavirus, Polio, Norwalk, and Hepatitis A.

As per a recent report, it has been determined that healthy people can be infected with minute exposure to Cryptosporidium, a small parasitic organism. In light of this report, the Natural Resources Defense Council asserts that at least 45 million people are at risk of this diarrhea causing pathogen in what may appear as clean drinking water. Just how many people can really become infected from their drinking water is impossible to estimate. The systems who responded represent only a small percentage of Americans; thus, the NRDC says the figure of 45 million may be extremely conservative at best.

Cryptosporidium can remain viable for months in sewage, runoff from feedlots, or groundwater until it finds a new host. This protozoa is neither killed by chlorine nor removed by standard filters. Like the very young, the elderly are at greatly increased risk from waterborne pathogens such as E.coli or Cryptosporidium parvum. Officials are concerned with the seriousness of this problem, and it has been recently said by Mr. L.D. McMullen, CEO of the Des Moines, Iowa, public water system and chairman of the National Drinking Water Advisory Council that he envisions a future in which utilities would deliver bottled water door to door, like milk. Others said physicians could write prescriptions for bottled water!

Cryptosporidium is a very real and serious threat to the quality of our water. According to University of Florida researcher Joan Rose, the minimum infectious dose is low, JUST ONE SINGLE OOCYST! Recent data has indicated that pregnant women, as well as children and the immunocompromised, may be more susceptible. Finally, NO EFFECTIVE TREATMENT has been found. In one test, after soaking cryptosporidium oocysts in straight household bleach for 24 hours, it was still able to infect mice. We may all recall the 1993 outbreak of cryptosporidia which swept through water-treatment filters in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. An estimated 400,000 people became sick with varying degrees of illness including diarrhea, abdominal cramping, nausea, vomiting, and fever. Almost one hundred persons died associated with this outbreak.

We do have a problem with chemical contamination in our drinking water; however, infectious or suspected infectious etiology far outweighs chemicals in water contamination. These infections have names: Giardia Lamblia, Shigella sonnei, Escherichia coli (E. coli), Cryptosporidium, Fecal Coliforms. We must remain guarded and protect our family as best as we can. The AquaRain Gravity Water Filter System removes waterborne pathogens including cysts and bacteria. These filter elements offer the tightest effective ceramic filtration, providing removal of pathogenic bacteria and cysts far exceeding EPA purifier requirements…all without having to boil your water, use potentially dangerous chemicals, or rely on man-made energy.