People choose bottled water because it is a safe, reliable, and convenient source of healthy hydration. Whether bottling spring water from protected underground aquifers or producing high-quality purified bottled water from a municipal source, America’s bottled water companies consistently meet consumer demand for safe, quality drinking water at home, at work, on the go, and when emergencies and natural disasters strike.
Also, because it is comprehensively regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a packaged food product, bottled water provides a consistently safe and reliable source of drinking water.
Consumers who choose to drink bottled water can rely on its consistent record of safety and quality. All bottled water products - whether from groundwater or public water sources - are produced utilizing a multi-barrier approach. This helps prevent possible harmful contamination to the finished product as well as storage, production, and transportation equipment. Many of the steps in a multi-barrier system are effective in safeguarding bottled water from microbiological and other contamination. Measures in a multi-barrier approach may include one or more of the following: source protection, source monitoring, reverse osmosis, distillation, micro-filtration, carbon filtration, ozonation, and ultraviolet (UV) light.
Bottled Water: Proven Safety & Consistent Quality
As noted in the Drinking Water Research Foundation's (DWRF) 2013 report, "Microbial Health Risks of Regulated Drinking Waters in the United States," researchers estimate that more than 500 boil alerts occurred in the United States in 2010. In addition, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that waterborne diseases, such as Cryptosporidiosis and Giardiasis, cost the U.S. healthcare system as much as $539 million a year in hospital expenses.
In 2006, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) researchers reported an estimated 16.4 million cases of acute gastrointestinal illness per year are caused by tap water. Subsequent research has estimated that number of illnesses to be closer to 19.5 million case s per year.
In contrast, a survey of FDA and state bottled water regulatory authorities, dated June, 2009 and conducted by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), found there were zero outbreaks of foodborne illness from bottled water over a 5-year period (See United States Government Accountability Office Report on Bottled Water, GAO-09-610, June 2009). Moreover, in testimony before a July 9, 2009 Congressional hearing, an FDA official stated that the agency was aware of no major outbreaks of illness or serious safety concerns associated with bottled water in the past decade.
Bottled water facilities test multiple times per day and in conformance with their respective EPA and FDA regulatory requirements for minimum test frequencies*. Bottled water is tested for total coliform bacteria at least twice as often as tap water. In some cases, bottled water is tested up to 36 times more often than tap water on a gallon-for-gallon basis. (*FDA: 21 CFR 129.35(a)(3)(i) / USEPA: 40 CFR 141.21(a)(2))