My mother has always been skeptical about bottled water. She never understood why Americans insist on keeping bottled water in their homes when the tap water (in most areas) is perfectly clean (her words not mine). She was adamant on the fact that it was a complete waste and “absolutely ridiculous”. Therefore, we never have had bottled water in our house.
I have tried to explain the many benefits of bottled water to her many times, mainly, that it is more about convenience than actual cleanliness. It’s easier to just grab a water bottle and run out the door, rather than taking the extra minute or two to fill up a cantene with water from the tap. No dice. The only time bottled water is acceptable to her is when you are out and dying of thirst and there is no way to get tap water and no other options.
I always thought that this was slightly ridiculous. I mean, come on, I have no problem drinking tap water, but bottled water really must be cleaner. I mean it has to be right? It comes in such nice packaging and it always says on the bottle that the water comes from fresh streams in the mountains or something like that.
I always just chalked it up to the fact that my mother is very frugal and doesn’t really spend money on any frills. And I was sure that living in Asia had skewed her judgement just slightly. We lived in Thailand until I was 12 years old and in Thailand you absolutely cannot drink the tap water, unless you boil and filter it. So I was sure she was just so happy to finally be able to drink the tap water again (without picking up Typhoid or some other horrible disease) when we moved to the States, that she kind of had it out for bottled water.
Well, the other day I was sitting getting a pedicure at my nail salon, and as the manicurist filed and clipped my toe nails, I stumbled across an article (I wish I had written down the Author’s name and the article title!) in People Magazine all about the scam that bottled water is. The article claimed that bottled water was actually less regulated than tap water, that it was detrimental to the environment, and that it doesn’t really come from those fresh mountain streams in the mountains. I was shocked! Could my mother have been right this whole time? Could bottled water really be a scam?
Well I did a little research (I used google. I am not an environmental researcher so please don’t take this as the total truth, it is just what I happened to find on the subject) on the topic. And as they say, there are two sides to every story, so of course the reviews are mixed. I am not so extreme as my mother to never drink water from a bottle ever again, but I do think there is some truth to the claim that bottled water may not be the best source of drinking water out there.
In short, bottled water is great when you can’t drink the tap water. It’s great when you are out on a hot summer day and you need a drink. It’s great for convenience when you’re running short on time. But I have to say, and it kills me to admit, I think my mom may have had the right idea, that drinking bottled water over tap in a Country or State where the tap water is regulated seems a little silly. And I have to wonder if Americans have gone a little overboard with the bottled water phenomenon. That maybe drinking the tap water isn’t such a bad thing.
In case you’re curious where I got my information, here’s a site I found really informative on the subject of bottled water: