In one study, published in The Archives of Family Medicine, researchers compared bottled water with tap water from Cleveland, and found that nearly a quarter of the samples of bottled water had significantly higher levels of bacteria.
But despite its association with purity and cleanliness, bottled water is bad for the environment. It is shipped at vast expense from one part of the world to another, is then kept refrigerated before sale, and causes huge numbers of plastic bottles to go into landfills.
Of course, tap water is not so abundant in the developing world. And that is ultimately why I find the illogical enthusiasm for bottled water not simply peculiar, but distasteful. For those of us in the developed world, safe water is now so abundant that we can afford to shun the tap water under our noses, and drink bottled water instead: our choice of water has become a lifestyle option. For many people in the developing world, however, access to water remains a matter of life or death.
The logical response, for those of us in the developed world, is to stop spending money on bottled water and to give the money to water charities.
And there's more. You should read this article. And keep drinking water. Lots of it. The stuff that comes right out of the tap in your kitchen sink, of course. And if you think it's got bad stuff in it. let your tap run ten seconds before filling your reusable water bottle. Any gunk in the lines will be flushed out. AND if you don't like the chlorine smell, leave it open in your refrigerator overnight. The chlorine will evaporate away.
Okay, it is time for me to climb down from my soapbox. I need a drink . . .