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Types of Bottled Water
If you have ever wondered how natural spring water, drinking water, mineral water and even tap water differ – Learn More
Most water is referred to as "spring water" but that's not usually true. The origin and processing of different types of bottled water actually make them quite different in content and taste. Even different springs have distinct taste profiles that make them unique. In fact, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-the federal agency that regulates all types of bottled water - has established guidelines that classify bottled water into several different water types:
Spring Water: The ultimate in bottled water, "spring water" is defined as bottled water derived from an underground formation from which water flows naturally to the surface of the earth. To qualify as spring water, it must be collected only at the spring. Harvested from protected sources, spring water represents the purest of waters and free of any chemicals or contaminants. All along its subterranean journey, natural spring water is enriched by minerals from the rocks through which it flows. For generations, some waters have been particularly linked to health and well being, thanks to their specific mineral content.
Purified Water: This is a type of drinking water that has been treated with processes such as distillation, deionization or reverse osmosis. This just means that the bacteria and dissolved solids have been removed from the water by a process, making it "purified." This type of bottled water is usually labeled as purified drinking water but can also be labeled for the specific process used to produce it, for example, reverse osmosis drinking water or distilled drinking water.
Mineral Water: Water that contains not less than 250 parts per million total dissolved solids (natural minerals) and is defined by its constant level and relative proportions of minerals and trace elements derived from the rock formations that the water travels through on its way to the spring source.
Sparkling Bottled Water: This type of water contains CO2 (carbon dioxide) that it adds "fizz", much like a soda, without the calories. Sparkling bottled waters may be labeled as sparkling drinking water, sparkling mineral water or sparkling spring water.
Artesian Water/Artesian Well Water: Artesian water comes from a well that taps a layer of rock or sand-in which the water level is above the top of the aquifer. Artesian water comes out of the ground under pressure. Water that rises in excess 12 inches above the aquifer is classified as a geyser.
Well Water: Well water is exactly what it sounds like - water from a hole made in the ground that taps the water source.
Municipal/Tap Water: You know this type of water as the stuff that is piped by the city right into your home or office. While tap water isn't regulated by the FDA (Food Regulators), it must meet the standards of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Municipal/Tap Water contains contaminants and chemicals that may be hazardous to your health. Typical additives to municipal sources include lime, activated carbon, aluminum sulfate, sodium hexamethaphosphate, chlorine and sodium silicoflouride. Sounds appetizing, doesn’t it? The real issue with tap water isn’t sanitization, as many of the treatment facilities have been upgraded and produce a quality product. The central issue with tap water is the chemicals that are added to it, and the additional contaminants that it picks up as it travels through the delivery system, which is the aging infrastructure and piping system that the water must travel through to your home or office.
Bottled Water Regulation: The FDA is responsible for the food and pharmaceutical industries, two industries where safety and quality are of paramount importance. As a result, bottled water is one of the most extensively regulated packaged-food products. The bottled water industry receives government oversight from federal and state agencies across the country, providing consumers with multiple layers of safety assurance - from the finished water product back to the source. State governments inspect and certify the "sources" of spring water, meaning that samples have been analyzed and found to be of a safe and sanitary quality.
70% of the Earth's surface is covered by water — a whopping 350 million cubic miles of water — but only 1% is suitable for drinking.
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