(Family Features) Water is an essential element for the human body, and we need it to stay hydrated and healthy.
But where should we get our water - from the tap or a bottle? Many people drink both, depending on taste and accessibility. To help you make an informed decision, here is some new information about the different refreshment choices you can make.
Perhaps the biggest debate is around the environmental impact of bottled water. A first-of-its-kind life cycle study recently commissioned by Nestle Waters North America examines the environmental impact of tap water, filtered tap water, bottled water and other packaged beverages. Here are a few findings:
-Water - in all its forms - is the best beverage option for the environment.
-Among packaged beverages evaluated in the study, bottled water has the lightest environmental impact. So, people can lighten their own environmental impact simply by drinking bottled water instead of packaged soda or sports drinks.
-Just by recycling the water bottle, the environmental impact is reduced by 25 percent.
Bottled water companies are working to reduce their environmental impact. For example, over the past 15 years Nestle Waters North America has reduced the amount of plastic in its bottles by 60 percent, making its Eco-Shape bottle among the lightest half-liter bottles across the packaged beverage industry.
How can you be sure your water is safe?
-Learn the facts. Tap and bottled water are regulated by the government with public health and safety in mind. By law, FDA standards for bottled water must be as stringent as EPA standards for public water supplies. And in some cases, FDA bottled water standards are more stringent than the EPA’s, such as for coliform bacteria, fluoride and lead.
-Read your municipal water quality report. Municipal water suppliers are required to produce quality reports each year. Contact your local water supplier to find out how to access these reports. Or, visit www.epa.gov/safewater.
-Find out the source and contents of your bottled water. Some bottled water brands provide information on how to access source and quality information, so you know exactly where your water comes from and what’s in it.
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