Shows Bottled Water Has More Bacteria (Bad!) but Less Fluoride (Even
Worse!) Than Tap Water
You Better Get
the Kids on Heavy Metal Supplements, "Researcher" Says
who buy bottled water for its perceived purity may not be getting
what they're paying for. They're most likely not getting adequate
fluoride either, according to researchers at Case Western Reserve
University and Ohio State University.
study published in the March issue of the "Archives of Family
Medicine," a journal of the American Medical Association, researchers
compared the bacterial content and fluoride levels of 57 samples of
bottled water with tap water from each of Cleveland's four water treatment
three bottled waters ... had fluoride levels within the range recommended
by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency," according to James
Lalumandier, a CWRU assistant professor of dentistry, and Leona W.
Ayers of OSU's College of Medicine and Public Health. The other 54
bottles fell short of the recommended range of 0.80 to 1.30 milligrams
of fluoride per liter.
tap water samples, however, were not only within the accepted range
but also scored very near the optimal level of 1.00 milligrams per
counts in the four tap water samples varied only slightly, from 0.2
to 2.7 bacterial colonies per milliliter. In the bottled water, bacterial
counts ranged from less than 0.01 to 4,900 colonies per milliliter.
Six bottled waters had bacteria counts of 1,500 to 4,900 colonies
of the reasons people choose to drink bottled water instead of tap
water is because of the perceived purity of bottled water," the
researchers observe, and indeed, 39 samples of bottled water were
found to be purer than the tap water. However, 15 samples of bottled
water had significantly higher bacteria levels than the tap water.
Of these 15, the bacteria counts were more than twice as high as the
most contaminated tap water sample and almost 2,000 times higher than
the purest tap water sample.
at the Ohio Department of Health Laboratories in Columbus tested the
water samples, which the researchers coded by number to eliminate
the potential for bias.
the high bacteria levels in some of the bottled water, all the water
tested is safe to drink under government standards, Lalumandier said.
Still, he and Ayers conclude, "use of bottled water on the assumption
of purity can be misguided."
who heads the Department of Community Dentistry at the dental school,
the low fluoride content of most bottled water is a significant concern.
The use of fluoridated water is a major factor in the prevention of
tooth decay in children and adults, he notes. People who rely on bottled
water may be at greater risk for tooth decay. According to a survey
of 1,000 pediatric patients, 9 percent of the children used bottled
water as their primary source of drinking water.
should be considered for prescribed fluoride supplements if they drink
bottled water," the researchers recommend. However, since a small
percentage of bottled water contains adequate fluoride, children who
drink such water should not get supplementary fluoride. That's because
excessive ingestion of fluoride during childhood can cause fluorosis,
a demineralization of the dental enamel that may result in discolored
are not required to include fluoride levels on their labels, but the
researchers believe they should be. Currently, consumers must either
get their water tested or contact the manufacturer for this information.
The researchers attempted to contact all 57 manufacturers in their
study, but were successful in reaching only 37.
water industry is one of the fastest-growing businesses in the United
States, with annual sales of nearly four billion gallons, Lalumandier
and Ayers said.
water should be required to meet the same standards for fluoride levels
and bacterial content as tap water, as it makes up a significant proportion
of the water consumed by the public," they conclude.
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