Bottled Water Products - Are they Safe and Reliable?
Bottled Water is Comprehensively Regulated
Bottled water is comprehensively regulated by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a packaged food product and it provides a consistently safe and reliable source of drinking water. By federal law, the FDA regulations governing the safety and quality of bottled water must be at least as protective of the public health as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards for tap water.
All bottled water products - whether from groundwater or public water sources - are produced utilizing a multi-barrier approach. From source to finished product, a multi-barrier approach helps prevent possible harmful contamination to the finished product as well as storage, production, and transportation equipment. Many of the steps in a multi-barrier system are effective in safeguarding bottled water from microbiological and other contamination. Measures in a multi-barrier approach may include one or more of the following: source protection, source monitoring, reverse osmosis, distillation, micro-filtration, carbon filtration, ozonation, and ultraviolet (UV) light.
Further, bottled water is one of the few food products that FDA also subjects to extra two sets of requirements in addition to the general food Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs) -- one prescribing bottled water Good Manufacturing Practices, and the other imposing specific bottled water standards of identity and quality. FDA's GMPs for bottled water apply to every aspect of production, from source protection, all the way through processing, to finished water sampling for purity prior to final bottling. FDA has established standards for more than 90 substances pursuant to the Standard of Quality (SOQ) for bottled water. Most FDA bottled water quality standards are the same as EPA’s maximum contaminant levels (MCL) for public water systems. The few differences are usually the result of the substance not being found in bottled water or the substance is regulated under FDA food additives program.