Jack C. West, CEO of the Drinking Water Research Foundation, a nonprofit founded in 1984 by several members of the bottled water and point-of-use filter industries, notifed me of the recent DWRF publication, Microbial Health Risks of Regulated Drinking Water in the United States.
Here is the abstract:
Drinking water regulations are designed to protect the public health. In the United States, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is tasked with developing and maintaining drinking water regulations for the 276,607,387 people served by the country’s 54,293 community water systems. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates bottled water as a food product. By federal law, the FDA’s regulations for bottled water must be at least as protective of public health as the EPA’s regulations for public water system drinking water. Despite many similarities in EPA and FDA regulations, consumer perception regarding the safety of drinking waters varies widely. This paper examines and compares the microbial health risks of tap water and bottled water, specifically examining differences in quality monitoring, regulatory standards violations, advisories, and distribution system conditions. It also includes comparison data on the number of waterborne illness outbreaks caused by both tap and bottled water.Based on a review of existing research, it is clear that as a consequence of the differences in regulations, distribution systems, operating (manufacturing) practices, and microbial standards of quality, public drinking water supplies present a substantially higher human risk than do bottled waters for illness due to waterborne organisms.