Known for its convenience, bottled water has become part of the American culture. While having bottled water can be extremely helpful during the hot summer months or during a natural disaster, it's important to make sure that you're choosing water that's safe and healthy to consume. If you're looking for water to stock up on at home, read on to learn more about what to look for in high-quality bottled water.
Not all water comes from the same place, so it's important to understand the differences. Artesian well water comes from a deep underground well that's been filtered through sand or rock, while mineral water has trace elements of minerals and dissolved solids. Springwater, which is the most popular type of bottled water, comes from a natural underground spring. Sparkling water has some natural carbon dioxide in it already, but after it's treated, more of the carbon dioxide is added back in to give it that tingling, sparkling effect. Flavored waters can be sourced from any of these types, and then flavoring and coloring is added after the water has been treated and tested.
When you see the term "municipal water," you probably think of tap water. Believe it or not, some bottled water brands actually bottle and re-sell municipal water to consumers. To spot this type of water, look for the terms "distilled water" or "purified drinking water" on the label. These labels don't necessarily mean that there's something wrong with the water, it's just not sourced from a natural place such as a spring or artesian well. The water must still meet current US standards and go through a distillation, osmosis, or deionization process so that it's completely safe for humans (or pets) to drink.
When you buy bottled water, it should be stored correctly to keep it fresh and safe to drink. Keep bottled water out of the heat and direct sunlight and preferably in a cool, dark place. As long as your bottled water stays sealed, there should be no expiration date. Just keep it cool and out of direct heat or else bacteria could grow. Wash or decontaminate the lid and bottle before you drink the water just to ensure that you don't ingest any possible contaminants.
Whether you're exercising, spending time outdoors and need a cold drink, or you just want to stock up, bottled water is an excellent resource that can ensure you stay safely hydrated. Make sure you read all labels and understand where your bottled water comes from, and store it correctly so you can drink in confidence.