Jules: “Is it better to drink bottled water or tap water?”
Flavie Cernesson, AgroParisTech – Paris-Saclay University and Yvan Altchenko, AgroParisTech – Université Paris-Saclay
Thank you for your question that many people ask themselves. In fact, there are several questions in one: is it better for the taste, for health, for the environment?
For your taste buds, a different taste
People often choose to drink bottled water because they think it tastes better than tap water, and it’s true that they can taste different. The taste of water comes from minerals and trace elements. Water that comes from the groundwater is in contact with rocks and will have more minerals than water that comes from a river. Bottled water comes mainly from groundwater and springs, while tap water can also be taken from lakes and rivers: this is the case for almost 40% of tap water in France. Tap water can have an unpleasant taste because of the chlorine used to disinfect it, but just leave the uncapped water carafe in the refrigerator for a few hours: the smell and taste of chlorine will disappear.
For your health, tap water is good for you
People often think that bottled water is safer, but in France, tap water is treated and disinfected. It is regularly controlled and subjected to very strict sanitary standards that allow us to drink it without risk every day, in sufficient quantity for our needs and throughout our lives. We therefore say that tap water is safe to drink. Bottled water is not always drinkable, because some mineral waters do not necessarily respect these standards and it is not recommended to drink the same mineral water every day. Indeed, consuming too much or too little of certain minerals is not good for your health in the long run.
For the environment, limit plastic bottles
You should also know that drinking bottled water has a greater impact on the environment than drinking tap water. Bottled water passes through a bottling plant, a storage facility, stores and the consumer’s car. On average, it is estimated that it travels 300 kilometers to reach our glasses. Then, a plastic bottle will end its life in an incinerator, be recycled (1 bottle out of 2 is recycled) and, in the worst case, be left in nature where it takes between 100 to 1000 years to degrade.
Finally, having healthy water at the tap is a luxury that many people in some countries do not have, so don’t hesitate to drink it!
This article is co-published with LUM, the science and society magazine of the University of Montpellier.
Flavie Cernesson, Lecturer in hydrology, AgroParisTech – Paris-Saclay University and Yvan Altchenko, Head of the Specialized Master in Water Management, AgroParisTech – Université Paris-Saclay
This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons License. Read the original article.