Drinking Water, Bottled Water (cont.)

"At the least, inform the children's dentist or doctor that you are relying on bottled water," Ophaug says.

The IBWA says there are more than 20 brands of bottled water with added fluoride available to consumers today. When fluoride is added to bottled water, the FDA requires that the term "fluoridated," "fluoride added," or "with added fluoride" be used on the label. Consumers interested in how much fluoride bottled water contains can usually find out by contacting individual companies directly.

To Filter or Not to Filter?

Consumers can buy purified water. They also have the option of doing it at home.

Numerous companies sell filtration systems. Some attach to the faucet and filter the water as it comes through the tap. Others are containers that filter the water in them. Among the best-known manufacturers are PUR and Brita.

Water purified with these products typically costs less than buying bottled water. According to Brita, its high-end faucet filter system provides water for 18 cents a gallon, a considerable saving from $1 or more typically charged for an 8- to 12-ounce bottle of water.

John B. Ferguson, communications manager/executive editor with the Water Quality Association, says that consumers can feel confident about the water quality provided by brand name home-filtration systems.

Stew Thornley of the Minnesota Department of Health agrees that home filtration systems can improve the taste or appearance of tap water at a minimal cost. However, Thornley points out that consumers need to be careful about maintaining these filters. Typically, specific instructions are included with the purchase of the product. Without proper maintenance, he says, it's possible bacteria or other contaminants can build up in the products.

The above information has been provided with the kind permission of the FDA online Consumer Magazine July-August, 2002.


Last Editorial Review: 8/13/2002