What Is Bottled Water?
The United States has over 700 different brands of bottled water to choose from. They come from a variety of sources, including springs, wells, and underground sources. Some bottlers treat the water with ultraviolet light to kill bacteria and other microbial contaminants. Others add fluoride.
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Bottled water is regulated by both federal and state agencies. For example, the FDA has a strict set of standards for bottled water. These guidelines help ensure that bottled water is safe for consumption. It is important to read the label carefully to determine what is in your bottled water and what is not.
Bottled water is also subject to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) regulation. Under the Safe Drinking Water Act, bottled water must generally meet the same standards as tap water. However, some states have lowered the upper limits for certain chemicals. In California, for instance, the maximum limit for trihalomethanes has been lowered from 80 parts per billion to 10 parts per billion.
Other federal regulations include requirements for a label that lists the ingredients of the bottled water and the nutritional information. Consumers are also urged to contact the bottling company if they have questions.
Bottled water is also regulated by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. They issue permits for foreign manufacturers and inspect facilities. If the water is imported, it must meet the same standards for quality as in-state produced water.
State and local boards of health also have responsibilities for regulating the bottled water industry. These are often more stringent than federal rules.
While bottled water is considered to be safe, some concerns have been raised about the environment. This is especially true when it is not consumed in its raw form. There are numerous issues associated with bottled water, from its manufacturing and transportation to the effects it may have on the natural environment.
One of the major reasons people buy bottled water is because of its convenience. However, consumers should be careful to store their bottles correctly to keep them safe from contamination. Storage should be in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. Ideally, empty bottles should be recycled. Alternatively, you could purchase a pitcher filter that filters out objectionable chemicals. Pitcher filters should be changed every two months to remove any traces of unhealthy microorganisms.
Some bottled water is treated in ways that enhance its taste. Mineral water, for example, is often carbonated. During the bottling process, some water sources may be treated with ozone to disinfect. Ozonation, in turn, helps to eliminate the aftertaste that many people notice with bottled water.
In addition to these federal and state rules, the International Bottled Water Association (IBWA) has adopted a voluntary HACCP system. IBWA members must comply with strict industry standards. Additionally, IBWA has worked with all levels of government to create sensible regulations.
In addition, the FDA regulates bottled water as a food product. Because bottled water is used for human consumption, it is required to follow strict standards for good manufacturing practices, microbiological quality, and physical characteristics.