Despite tough economic times, people are still shelling out money for bottled water. Why? The primary motivator is convenience, not perceived health benefits, according to a study conducted in the United Kingdom.
Although most study participants said there were general health benefits to bottled water, they were unsure exactly what these benefits were and considered them negligible.
Despite a vague belief about increased healthfulness, most could not identify the health benefit. The most commonly given reason for purchasing bottled water was convenience. Many participants said they drank tap water at home, but purchased bottled water when they were out and about.
“Interestingly, while the majority of participants expressed the belief that bottled water has health benefits of some kind, paradoxically these same participants also stated that the health benefits of bottled water are negligible or nonexistent,” researchers write in the study. “This perhaps reflects confusion in the general public.”
No wonder they are confused. Although Americans drank 9 billion gallons of bottled water last year, or slightly more than 29 gallons for every man, woman, and child in the country, they also spent $22 billion on a product that critics of the bottled water industry say they should be getting for free from their home faucets.
Roughly 45% of the water sold in single-serve bottles comes from a municipal water source!
By law, bottled water that comes from a municipal water supply has to disclose this on its label unless the bottler takes steps to further purify the water, which most do. In this case, the label will say “purified water” or “purified drinking water,” but the original source is probably tap water.
Water labeled “spring water” comes from an underground water spring, but it may be piped to the bottling plant.
“Mineral water” comes from an underground source and must contain no less than 250 parts per million total dissolved solids, such as salts, sulfur compounds, and gasses. No minerals may be added to the water by the bottler.
“Artesian water” or “artesian well water” must come from a well that taps a confined aquifer.