Tap Water or Bottled Water

Tap water or bottled water: Which should you drink? Both are regulated stringently by the government—tap water by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and bottled water by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Especially when it comes from large municipal water systems, tap water is just as safe for drinking as bottled water.

Right from the Tap

Just turn on your faucet! Most drinking water in the United States comes right from the tap. Most of us take this for granted, but in many parts of the world, drinkable tap water is a luxury. If you live in an urban area, your tap water probably comes from a surface water source: river, lake, or reservoir, fed by a watershed, or land area. In a rural area, you likely drink groundwa-ter that's pumped from an aquifer, an underground, natural reservoir. Either way, water must be treated with chemicals and filtered to ensure its quality and safety.

Treated: For SafetyS Sake. No matter what the original source, water isn't naturally pure. Impurities dissolve or absorb in water as it flows through rivers and streams, filters through soil and rocks, and collects in lakes and reservoirs.

To make tap water safe from public health problems, the EPA has established standards for contaminants that may occur in drinking water. Standards are set at a low enough level to protect most people, including children. Treatment protects you from microbes such as bacteria and viruses, inorganic contaminants such as chemicals, and lead, arsenic, and other minerals.

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