Generally, bottled drinking water is sourced from a spring or has gone through reverse osmosis before it is bottled. However, some brands are simply bottled tap water that may or may not have gone through any additional filtering. Typically it has no added ingredients except optional anti-microbial agents, minerals or electrolytes which if used must be identified on the label. Below are some water basics to help you navigate the ever-growing bottled water isle:
- Potable water is simply water intended for human consumption with low risk of immediate or long term harm.
- Purified water is physically processed to remove impurities via distillation, deionization, reverse osmosis, or carbon filtration, etc.
- Distilled water is boiled and evaporated away from most bacteria, viruses, chemicals, minerals, and pollutants. The steam vapor is then condensed back to water.
- Ionized or alkaline water is separated into alkaline and acid fractions using electrolysis, which uses the naturally occurring electric charges in the magnesium and calcium ions. In the drinking water industry, ionized water refers to alkaline water, which has a pH level greater than 7.
- Deionized or demineralized water is the result when mineral ions (salts such as sodium, calcium, iron, copper, chloride and bromide) are removed by exposing it to electrically charged resins that attract and bind to the salts. It is known to help remove some toxic heavy metals such as lead and mercury.
- Spring water comes from an underground formation from which water flows naturally to the surface of the earth, and is collected at the spring who's location must be identified on the label.
- Artesian water is drawn from a well deep in the earth and brought to the surface by natural pressure or flow. Untouched, the water is compressed between layers of natural rock, which means no acid rain or bacteria, and is rich in natural occurring minerals such as bi-carbonate, calcium and electro-lytes. (A favorite is New Zealand artesian well water at Trader Joe's.)
- Mineral water comes from a geologically and physically protected under-ground water source or spring, contains at least 250 parts per million total dissolved solids, is tapped at the source, and may be effervescent or sparkling due to contained gasses. However, most mineral water is carbonated and some sparkling water such as club soda is called mineral water because the manufacturer added bicarbonates, citrates, and sodium phosphates to filtered or distilled tap water.
Reading labels is a must even for water. Each type of water offers something unique and can also taste different, depending on the source and treatment process. So try another type or brand of water. You may discover something new that you like, and that's good for you too.