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Water:  Toxic Bottled Water

August 4, 2005
By Kimberly Shumaker

It is a somewhat ' traditional belief' that our government does not allow toxins and chemicals into our food supply - which would endanger us.

For years we have consumed tap water, eaten processed food - and purchased new foods on the market, which are pre-packaged and contain the words "enriched" and "processed".

Today, I present to you ONE example of the way in which government looks at our food supply, and what it deems 'acceptable levels' of certain products.

Water is the product of the day. Bottled Water, specifically.

Below is from the FDA web site, which clearly shows the government's decision on Arsenic, and how much is allowable. Yes, I said ARSENIC.


Before we begin, let's look at the definition of Arsenic.

Source: Merriam-Webster's Medical Dictionary, © 2002 Merriam-Webster, Inc.

n 1: a very poisonous metallic element that has three allotropic forms; arsenic and arsenic compounds are used as herbicides and insecticides and various alloys; found in arsenopyrite and orpiment and realgar [syn: As, atomic number 33] 2: a white powdered poisonous trioxide of arsenic; used in manufacturing glass and as a pesticide and weed killer [syn: arsenic trioxide, arsenous anhydride, arsenous oxide]


With this definition in mind, think about the marvelous quantities of bottled water being sold in stores today. Going to a sporting event? What goes into the cooler? Bottled Water! Spending a day at the beach? Bottled Water!


Health conscious consumers across the country have decided to watch the amount of colas they consume, and have traded them in for cool, refreshing water.


But, there is a catch.


First, have you noticed the labels? Do you know the difference between ‘purified water’, ‘drinking water’, and ‘spring water’? Most people do not – as they have ingrained in their belief system that BOTTLED is better than tap anyway.


However, this is NOT the case. Many times, the bottled water you are drinking is another city’s TAP water!


From ABC’s website:

Bottled water, we were told, is cleaner, safer, healthier.

Watching bottled water ads, you'd think that tap water might not be healthy. But it's not true.

"20/20" took five bottles of national brands of bottled water and a sample of tap water from a drinking fountain in the middle of New York City and sent them to microbiologist Aaron Margolin of the University of New Hampshire to test for bacteria that can make you sick, like E. coli.

"There was actually no difference between the New York City tap water and the bottled waters that we evaluated," he said.

Many scientists have run tests like that and have consistently found that tap water is as good for you as bottled waters that cost 500 times more.

"Healthy is a funny definition," he said.

"I wouldn't say it's healthier than tap water. I mean, they both provide water," Edberg added.

Maybe a taste difference justifies spending more money?

"I can definitely taste the difference between like a Fiji water and an Evian and a Poland Spring," one woman said. Many brands — Aquafina, Deer Park and Dasani — had loyal fans.

The labels of the bottled waters do suggest they're special. Some show mountains or polar bears or glaciers. You have to look at the fine print to find out Everest Water is not from Mount Everest. It's from Corpus Christi, Texas. Glacier Clear Water is not from a glacier in Alaska. Its source is tap water from Greeneville, Tenn.

Big-selling Dasani and Aquafina are also just reprocessed tap water from cities around the country. One of Aquafina's sources is the Detroit River! At least the popular French water, Evian, does come from France.

From the World Wildlife Fund:

‘ "Our attitudes toward tap water are being shaped by the pollution which is choking the rivers and streams," said the fund's water campaign director Richard Holland.

But the study — conducted by University of Geneva researcher Catherine Ferrier — said the only difference between some bottled water and tap water is that it is distributed in bottles rather than pipes.’

The Archives of Family Medicine, researchers compared bottled water with tap water from Cleveland, and found that nearly a quarter of the samples of bottled water had significantly higher levels of bacteria. The scientists concluded, "use of bottled water on the assumption of purity can be misguided." Imagine that.

Taking into account this newfound information, lets think about what is found in the water to begin with. In my small town we have a problem with the water, which has existed for years. Because our water comes from a town 15 miles away and goes through two pumping stations, it is treated twice. A good thing, you would think.

But our issue is not the bacteria – it is the by-product of the Chlorine used to treat the water.

For several decades, the by-product has exceeded the standards allowable, and little post-cards have been sent to all who share in this tap water supply. The card tells us the levels have been exceeded, and steps are being taken to correct the problem. Six months later, another card will arrive with the same information.  Other than sending the cards, nothing has been done to correct the problem.

It is no wonder that my small town has a very high rate of cancer, arthritis and other joint diseases, and the children have more health problems than a neighboring city, whose water supply comes from a larger city.

Because of this, most of the residents in our town have taken to purchasing bottled water. Little did we realize we were doing as much harm as if we had continued to drink from the tap.


Consider this from The Nebraska Cooperative Extension Office:

‘Bottled water is not pure water, as nearly all bottled water contains dissolved substances. The FDA regulates the quality of imported bottled water and bottled water distributed through interstate commerce. FDA has established allowable levels for a number of potential contaminants. Bottled water cannot contain more than the allowable level for any given substance. While there are a few differences, the allowable level for various contaminants allowed by the FDA in bottled water is essentially the same as the maximum contaminant levels that the EPA allows in public water supplies.


Some Key Differences Between EPA Tap Water and FDA Bottled Water Rules

Water Type

Disinfection Required?

Confirmed E. Coli & Fecal Coliform Banned?

Testing Frequency for Bacteria

Must Filter to Remove Pathogens, or Have Strictly Protected Source?

Must Test for Cryptosporidium, Giardia, Viruses?

Testing Frequency for Most Synthetic Organic Chemicals

Bottled Water







Carbonated or Seltzer Water







Big City Tap Water (using surface water)



Hundreds/ month



(limited waivers available if clean source)

From the National Resources Defense Council

 The following link will direct you to the National Resources Defense Council website:

Here you will find a list of contaminants in the water you purchase in that pretty little bottle at the store. Arsenic and Ecolab are among them.


The following is an excerpt from the FDA:

Food and Drug Administration
21 CFR Part 165
[Docket No. 2004N-0416]

Beverages: Bottled Water

AGENCY: Food and Drug Administration, HHS.

ACTION: Final rule.


SUMMARY: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is amending its bottledwater quality standard regulations by revising the existing allowable level for the contaminant arsenic. As a consequence, bottled water manufacturers are required to monitor their finished bottled water
products for arsenic at least once each year under the current good manufacturing practice (CGMP) regulations for bottled water. Bottled water manufacturers are also required to monitor their source water for arsenic as often as necessary, but at least once every year unless they meet the criteria for the source water monitoring exemptions under the CGMP regulations. This final rule will ensure that the minimum quality of bottled water, as affected by arsenic, remains comparable with the quality of public drinking water that meets the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) standards.

DATES: This rule is effective January 23, 2006. The Director of the Office of the Federal Register approves the incorporation by reference in accordance with 5 U.S.C. 552(a) and 1 CFR part 51 of certain publications in 21 CFR 165.110(b)(4)(iii), as of January 23, 2006.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jennifer A. Burnham, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (HFS-306), Food and Drug Administration, 5100 Paint Branch Pkwy., College Park, MD 20740, 301-436-2030.

It is detected that the FDA is working to REDUCE the levels - but NOT eliminate them.

What is a consumer to do?

The next time you go to the grocery and buy bottled water - think about this article, and read the label of the product you are about to buy. The only SAFE bottled water is that which has been purified by reverse osmosis.

Reverse osmosis uses a membrane that is semi-permeable, allowing the fluid that is being purified to pass through it, while rejecting the contaminants that remain. Most reverse osmosis technology uses a process known as cross-flow to allow the membrane to continually clean itself. As some of the fluid passes through the membrane the rest continues downstream, sweeping the rejected species away from the membrane. The process of reverse osmosis requires a driving force to push the fluid through the membrane, and the most common force is pressure from a pump. The higher the pressure, the larger the driving force. As the concentration of the fluid being rejected increases, the driving force required to continue concentrating the fluid increases.

If the label does not state RO as the purification method, then it was not used, and you may be purchasing someone else's tap water.

Be Smart. Be Safe. Educate yourself and ensure your families health. There are several products on the market which purify the water coming through your tap - and clicking here will direct you to the ONLY one I recommend. My recommendations are through extensive research, and by good conscience I can offer this to you. Also, I encourage you to visit the FDA website and discover for yourself other contaminants - lead, for example - which are still ALLOWED to be present in our food supply. Visit this site:




Kimberly Shumaker
Nutritional Consultant





Water Filtration

Reverse Osmosis


Natural Nutrition 4 Health

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