Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Why Bottled Water?

Some consumers like the convenience of carrying
bottled water with them when they travel or go about
their daily routines. Others are concerned about the
safety and quality of tap water. Whatever the reason, the
use of bottled water has increased.

Public drinking water is generally safe and public water
works staff attempt to keep it that way. But industrial
plants and agricultural chemicals can contaminate
nearby municipal and private water sources.

Bacteria is one concern. For healthy individuals, bacteria
are not a major health threat, and chlorination of drinking
water or boiling it for about one minute easily kills
bacteria. Chlorine is a very effective disinfectant. Most
Iowa communities add chlorine in the minimal amounts
necessary to meet standards set by the state Department
of Natural Resources. Research, however, suggests that
prolonged exposure to chlorination by-products is
associated with an increased risk of certain types of
cancer.

Pesticides are a much greater concern, especially for
rural populations whose water supply comes primarily
from private wells that are not subject to environmental
and health regulations by government agencies.

Exposure to lead and some copper pipes are another
possible source of water contamination. Lead, for
example, may decrease learning abilities of young
children and contribue to kidney damage and elevated
blood pressure in adults. The toxic effects of contaminants
are particularly harmful to children, the elderly,
and people with weakened immune systems.

To see the rest of this article please go to iastate.edu