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Health Fitness

The truth about bottled spring water

Have you taken a look lately at the label on your ever-present bottle of spring water? It probably says something like “mountain spring water”. Now, look closely at the full-color drawing that also graces the label—in this case, a bottle of Arrowhead Spring Water. (If it’s not Arrowhead in your area, it will be Ozarka or Deer Park, Ice Mountain or Poland Spring, as they are all owned by Nestlé Waters.)

Isn’t that a peaceful scene? A beautiful blue sky with fluffy white clouds, lush evergreen trees and a silvery blue mountain from which a stream of clear cold water gushes. My guess is that the spring the water comes from is somewhere around that virtual stream.

All the bottled spring waters seem to show mountains and beautiful scenery, along with clear spring water. These images are there for a reason. Companies are trying to create a picture in your mind of spring water coming from a beautiful, pristine mountain, when in reality it comes from a hole in the ground.

That’s not to say that spring water isn’t good to drink, because it certainly is, at least better than tap water! But it’s only fair that you know exactly where it comes from. It doesn’t come from a remote mountain spring in a picturesque setting like the advertisements would have you believe. When a water company locates a spring source, a new bottling plant is built there at the source of the water. This is supposed to help keep water pollution down, but it doesn’t prevent it from happening.

Contamination in spring water is something that not many people know about. Maybe they’re too busy dismissing their bottled water nemesis of choice, which is purified water. We’ll get back to the contamination issue in a bit, but for now, let’s look at what purified bottled water is.

Purified water is sold simply as bottled water. Often this water is municipal or tap water that has been treated with reverse osmosis, distillation, or deionization to remove bacteria or dissolved solids. This additional processing, in addition to what the municipal water department has already done to process and clean the water, still allows the water to retain some of its natural flavor, which is why many people prefer it over spring water. . It is estimated that 25 percent of all bottled water comes from a municipal or city supply.

When you buy bottled spring water, you expect a slightly different product than purified municipal water. They make you believe that spring water is superior, and spring water labels usually do their best to nurture your belief with the images we talked about earlier. But, these labels are misleading. Recently, two big name brands of what was supposed to be spring water were called to task for advertising what was found to be municipal water as spring water! Their labels have been changed to reflect this, but many people were fooled for a long time.

The only way a bottled water can be labeled as spring water is if it comes from a spring. Now, you probably read that and thought, “Well, of course!” But the whole problem is that spring! Spring water has to flow naturally to the earth’s surface from a source that is located underground. The water must be obtained directly from this spring, or from a “Drilled Well” that must be as close as possible to the place where the water comes out naturally. If a pump is used to draw the water, or any machine that uses force from outside the spring, then the water that is pumped out has to be exactly the same as naturally flowing water in composition and quality. .

Sounds good, right? Well, that well can easily get contaminated, just like the place where the spring comes out of the ground. And, since Food and Drug Administration rules allow bottled spring water to have some forms of contamination, there isn’t much that can be done. These contaminants include E.coli or fecal coliforms, which are two bacteria that target the inclusion of fecal matter in the water. Tap water rules prohibit any contamination with these bacteria. Since purified bottled water is made from tap water, it stands to reason that this type of bottled water would be much safer and better tasting than spring water.

Bottled water is not required to be tested for known parasites such as cryptosporidium and giardia. Cryptosporidium is a type of protozoan that can cause diarrhea. In healthy people, the infection it causes does not last very long, but in children and people with compromised immune systems, it can become quite serious and reject all medical attempts to stop it.

Giardia is often found in unsafe water. In fact, water is the main source of this infection.

Giardia can cause a person to be bloated, nauseated, have watery diarrhea, and abdominal cramps. You can also lose up to ten percent of your body weight when infected with this parasite. The infection takes two to six weeks to get better, but it has been known to develop into chronic giardia and last for months and years.

The potential for bottled spring water to have contaminants and parasites, or both, is small, but it exists. Purified water is much safer for you and your family if you are concerned about the cleanliness of the water you drink.


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