So what’s really in your tap water? Apparently not as much as is in your bottled water, according to this thorough [E] cover story, Message in a Bottle. The article examines the shifty sources for so-called “pure” and “mountain-fresh” “spring” water, compares bottle and tap water in scientific tests, and laments at the tremendous wastage the whole water bottling business presents in the form of landfill and depleted aquifiers.
The message is clear: Bottled water is “good” water, as opposed to that nasty, unsafe stuff that comes out of the tap. But in most cases tap water adheres to stricter purity standards than bottled water, whose source—far from a mountain spring—can be wells underneath industrial facilities. Indeed, 40 percent of bottled water began life as, well, tap water.