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On average American drinks 28 gallons of bottled water a year. Most Americans drink bottled water because they think tap water is not safe. Municipal water has been in the news lately because of the lead getting into the water supply. Lead along does not make bottled water safer. Data shows that 25% or more of bottled water is tap water. Sometimes more treated than tap water. This means that bottled water may be just as likely as tap water to contain contaminants that include infectious organisms, pesticide residue and metals. The metals include lead.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sets and enforces purity standards for municipal water. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulate bottled water. The FDA only inspects the bottled water if it’s going out of state. About 60% of the bottled water is sold in the sated that bottles the water. This means that the FDA or the EPA does not regulate most bottled water. Bottled water has very few enforced standards,

Most bottled water don’t contain chlorine. Water that has not been treated with chlorine may contain bacteria and viruses. Water bottling companies use ozone gas as an antimicrobial agent. This only provides disinfection for a limited amount of time. Depending on storage and other factors. Even the bottled can affect the safety of bottled water. Chemicals in plastic products can leach in and contaminate the container’s contents.

Plastic bottles may contain BPA, an industrial chemical in plastics that acts like a hormone and can impact the brain development of babies. Even plastics that are labeled BPA-free often test positive for other dangerous compounds. Firm plastic bottles are less likely to contain phthalates. Most bottled water comes in soft plastic bottles.

Bottled water can cost $0.89 per gallon to $8.26 per gallon. That makes bottled water more expensive than tap water. Plastic bottles are creating an enviromental waste problem. Remember bottled water has a use by date or a sell by date.

There are a lot of different types of bottled water. Some don’t taste good and most cost too much.

Mineral water — Has no legal definition, as all water except distilled and purified water contain some minerals.

Spring water — Water that naturally flows out of the ground.

Natural spring water — Spring water collected without pumping or processing.

Hard water — Contains the minerals calcium and magnesium.

Soft water — Calcium and magnesium have been removed and replaced by sodium.

Drinking water — Noncarbonated water with no guarantee that it comes from a particular source or has been given a special treatment.

Purified water — Minerals removed.

Distilled water — The condensed steam of boiled water, a process that removed all minerals.

Deionized water — Minerals removed by a deionizer.

Our public water systems can be compromised after natural disasters, hurricanes, floods, tornadoes and fires, During these times, bottled water is the best reliable alternative to deliver clean, safe drinking water. Tap water still provides us with a safe source of drinking water.

Most municipal water companies are operating with old systems. Some are failing and need replacing. Municipal tap water can still be harmful as they fail especially to those with chronic illnesses or an impaired immune system, older adults very young children and pregnant women.

Another problem with an old municipal water system is lead. Until the 1980s water pipes in the home and city system were made of lead or joined with lead based solders. Even small amounts of lead can impair intellectual development and behavior in young children. Lead can also impair fetal health. In adults lead has been shown to reduce memory function and raise blood pressure.

In a recent study of our water systems, pharmaceutical residue was found. Some of the pharmaceutical residue included chemotherapy agents, pesticides, psychiatric drugs and antibiotics. Bottled water that is repackage tap water is just as likely to contain the same pharmaceutical residue as tap water.

If you live in a house built before 1986 you should let your water run for a minute or two before taking a drink. Never use hot water for drinking. When drinking from a public fountain let the water run for a while before drinking.

Another plus for tap water is that it contains calcium, magnesium, sodium, copper and selenium. These minerals help to keep us healthy.

We require more water than any other thing we ingest. We may survive for a few weeks without food, but we would only last a few days without water. Water makes up more than two thirds of your body weight.

Drinking water is important all year around but you need to be especially meticulous about drinking water when the weather is hot. Two thirds of your body is composed of water. This makes it the body’s most vital nutrient. To maintain balance the average person needs about 2,500 ml (about 10 cups) per day. Of this amount probably 60% will be obtained from drinking water or beverages, 30% from moist foods and the remaining 10% will be a by product of the metabolism of various nutrients. How much water you need to drink each day depends on a few factors, including your age, gender, activity level, humidity and even the weather.

If you work outdoors your body usually has a chance to get acclimated to hot weather but you still need to drink plenty of water throughout the day and take it easy on those days when temperatures are extreme. As the heat index rises above 70°F, there is a high risk for heat-related illness.

To get a water quality report for most cities go to www.epa.got/safewater or call the EPA’s Safe Drinking Water Hotline at 800 426 4791.

If you have a fitness question or concern you would like addressed write to “Tips to be Fit,” P.O. Box 53443, Philadelphia, PA 19105, or tipstobefit@gmail.com. If you’ve missed an article of “Tips to be Fit” just search “Tips to be Fit.”

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