As if you needed yet another reason for why you shouldn’t buy bottled water, here’s one more: tests on leading brands of bottled water turned up a variety of contaminants often found in tap water, according to a study released this week by the Washington-based Environmental Working Group, an advocacy group. Even worst, despite this reality, all the brands met federal health standards for drinking water, and two violated a California state standard.
The findings challenge the popular impression — and marketing pitch — that bottled water is purer than tap water. Just look at the labels or the bottled water ads: deep, pristine pools of spring water; majestic alpine peaks; healthy, active people gulping down icy bottled water between biking in the park and a trip to the yoga studio.
The study's lab tests on 10 brands of bottled water detected 38 chemicals including bacteria, caffeine, the pain reliever acetaminophen, fertilizer, solvents, plastic-making chemicals and the radioactive element strontium. Though some probably came from tap water that some companies use for their bottled water, other contaminants probably leached from plastic bottles, the researchers said.
The researchers recommend that people worried about water contaminants drink tap water with a carbon filter.