What Is Commercially Bottled Water?
Commercially bottled water is purified drinking water packaged in a bottle and sold to consumers for human consumption. Bottled water can be produced by natural sources such as springs or by man-made sources such as water plants or purifying stations. The water should have no harmful contaminants in its source, including groundwater or surface water.
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The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates the safety of commercially bottled water. It sets guidelines for purified and mineral water, and it requires that bottled water be labeled to indicate its source. Manufacturers must obtain a license and submit to regular inspections of their treatment facilities. If a company fails to do so, the FDA can take action. However, the federal regulation only applies to bottled water traveling between states.
For instance, the FDA has a rule that a bottled water must not contain more than five gallons of fluoride per million gallons of water. It is a natural occurring mineral, but manufacturers can add fluoride as an additive. In addition, a bottled water must not contain more contaminants than the state’s maximum allowable levels. Some states do not have bottled water regulations.
Although bottled water is convenient, it can be expensive. It costs about 89 cents to $8.26 per gallon for municipal water, compared with a staggering $60.6 million spent on advertising for the bottled water industry in 2013. That’s nearly 10 times as much as the cost of the average American’s tap water.
Bottled water also requires a sanitary container. It should be stored in a cool, dry place. Water bottles can leak chemicals into groundwater, which can be a potential health hazard. They can also be damaged and degrade for hundreds or even thousands of years.
Manufacturers use about 2.7 million tons of plastic to produce bottled water. Most of the bottles are made of polyethylene terepthalate, a petroleum-based material. A small fraction of the bottles are recyclable.
To protect consumers, the FDA has set “Standards of Identity” for bottled water products. These guidelines serve as important guides for manufacturers. Typically, the manufacturer is expected to ensure that chemical, radiological, and other contaminants do not exceed the maximum allowable levels. Additionally, the water must meet the requirements for purified water, which is defined in the United States Pharmacopoea.
Bottled water is sold in a wide variety of forms. Some companies sell sparkling mineral water in bottles, while others offer mineral water that comes from springs or groundwater. The labels on the bottled water tell the customer where the water originates and what it is treated. But what’s really important is whether the water is calorie free and sugar-free.
One of the most interesting points about bottled water is that it has been sold throughout the world. The United Kingdom is the oldest known location for the sale of bottled water. And it was the first country in the world to set up a bottling plant. Eventually, other European countries followed.