bottled water sources

Bottled Water Sellers Won’t Say What’s in the Water

The label may display a mountain spring, but a new report reveals that it’s hard to know where the water in that bottle really came from.

Bottled Water Sellers Won’t Say What’s in the Water

This may be where your bottled water comes from...if you're lucky.

To make sure you’re getting the cleanest water possible, here are a few things to keep in mind:

• Filters are fabulous. It’s hard to balance reports about the questionable safety of bottled water with the seemingly constant report of chemicals, pharmaceuticals, and all the other junk that gets detected in tap water. But combine your tap water with a filter, and you’ve got a reliable source of clean, safe water. “Filtered tap water is a much better alternative than bottled water,” says Leiba. “At least with filtered tap water, you can go to your municipality’s site, see what contaminants are in your water, and choose a filter that’s appropriate for your water.”

• Check up on your community’s contaminants. Speaking of those municipalities, every year, cities are required to publish Consumer Confidence Reports that list levels of various contaminants, alongside the EPA’s limits for what those contaminants should be. Since these can be confusing, the National Sanitation Foundation has just launched a new section of its website devoted to helping you understand them. You can also search for NSF-certified water filters there to ensure that the filter is actually removing the chemicals found in your water.

• Support those who support your right to know. For those times when you find yourself without a reusable bottle at hand, and want a thirst-quenching alternative to high-calorie, high-sugar sodas, look for a bottled water brand that discloses the specific water source and how it was treated. You can search by brand at, or simply read the label. If you see a brand that says something like “Houston Municipal Water Supply,” at least you can rest assured that the water inside was tested and treated according to the EPA’s strict regulations.

• Recycle the bottle. And see our story on buying bottled water for tips on choosing the most ecofriendly option.

Published on: July 15, 2009
Updated on: March 11, 2010

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