Bottled drinking water is pure, right? Not necessarily. Bottled water can be less pure than municipal tap water in some parts of the United States. In fact, bottled water can actually be municipal tap water. Two examples are Coca Cola’s Dasani brand and Pepsi Cola’s Aquafina brand.
What is bottled water?
“Description. Bottled water is water that is intended for human consumption and that is sealed in bottles or other containers with no added ingredients except that it may optionally contain safe and suitable antimicrobial agents. Fluoride may be optionally added within the limitations established.” The United States FDA
Who regulates what bottled water has in it?
The Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates bottled drinking water, which is classified as a “food”. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulates tap water. Amazingly, the EPA guidelines for municipal water are stricter than the FDA restrictions for bottled drinking water! You might buy bottled drinking water that is acceptable to the FDA but is not acceptable for use as ordinary bathroom tap water.
The FDA’s specific regulations for bottled water are found in Title 21 of the Code of Federal Regulations (21 CFR).
What are FDA standards?
Under the standard of quality (21 CFR, 165.110[b]), FDA allows certain levels of contaminants in bottled water.
Contaminants bottled water has in it.
1. Coliform. Coliform are rod-shaped bacteria, such as E. coli, that are normally present in the human intestine. The FDA says that bottled water may have up to 9.2 coliform organisms per 100 milliliters. See 21 CFR 165.110[b].
2. Arsenic. Arsenic is a poison. The FDA says that bottled water may have up to 0.05 milligrams per liter of arsenic. See 21 CFR 165.110[b].
3. Chloride. Chloride is a compound of chlorine, a substance used to disinfect tap water. The FDA allows up to 250.0 milligrams per liter of chloride in bottled water. See 21 CFR 165.110[b].
4. Iron. Iron is a metallic element. Your body needs some iron, but not too much. The FDA permits bottled water to contain up to 0.3 milligrams per liter of iron. See 21 CFR 165.110[b].
5. Manganese. Manganese resembles iron and is used in fertilizers. Bottled water may contain up to 0.05 milligrams per liter of manganese. See 21 CFR 165.110[b].
6. Phenols. Phenols are corrosive, poisonous acidic compounds. Your bottled water may contain up to 0.001 milligrams per liter of phenols. See 21 CFR 165.110[b].
7. Dissolved solids. “Dissolved solids” is a catch-all phrase. The FDA allows bottled water to contain up to 500 milligrams per liter of dissolved solids, of whatever type. See 21 CFR 165.110[b].
8. Zinc. Zinc is a metallic element. Your body needs some zinc, but not too much. The FDA permits bottled water to contain up to 5.0 milligrams per liter of zinc. See 21 CFR 165.110[b].
9. Fluoride. Fluoride is purposely added to some bottled water. If so, the label should say so. In addition, bottled water that is not labeled as containing fluoride may contain up …