Water safety is a primary concern for many people not only in America but globally. The development of residential and industrial properties in water-catchment areas and close to waterways has triggered widespread water contamination thus limiting access to clean and safe drinking water (Goncharuk, 2014). Consequently, there has been a rise in the number of bottled water companies that offer an alternative source of clean water. The companies apply various methods such as distillation and filtration to produce sufficient quantities of water. The methods are capital intensive thus consumers have to purchase the water they need. Therefore, it becomes necessary to carry out detailed experiments on the bottled and tap water that is made available to consumers to establish whether it is worthwhile to purchase bottled water.
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According to Waite (2012), an analysis of the water produced by bottling companies as well as tap water revealed some differences in their mineral composition. While water contains some essential minerals, it may be noted that contamination may occur as the water is being stored or as it is being transported through pipes from their source to the consumers’ houses. Therefore, treatment at a water collection point does not always guarantee that the water is safe for domestic use. Bottled water, on the other hand, is treated, packed, and distributed under hygienic conditions that are usually set and regulated by federal or state agencies to ensure its safety. Therefore, an experiment to test the differences between tap water and bottled water can reveal the differences that exist between the two thus helping to establish whether it worth to pay for bottled water as is the case with bottled water.
The water bottling process involves filtration and other treatment measures that eliminate harmful microorganisms. Conversely, untreated tap water poses several health risks because it is obtained and distributed in its raw form which could be contaminated due to contact with human waste, garbage, and chemicals (Ware, 2012). It is necessary to consider that the contaminants easily seep into the water table in lowlands and other waterlogged areas. Therefore, the experiment seeks to identify whether processed and bottled water is healthier for consumption and whether it is worth paying the price for it (Goncharuk, 2014).
Methodology and Materials
The initial experiment involved testing the pH levels of bottled water and tap water. Samples from two bottled water companies, Dasani and Fiji, and tap water were used. The samples were used to rinse three test tubes while avoiding direct hand-water contact because the bare hands could contaminate the water. 5ml of each sample were also added to each test tube after which drops of indicator solution were added. The observations were then recorded. For the testing of nitrate, acid reagents and nitrate nitrogen comparators were used. Similar tests were carried out to establish the levels of ammonia, chloride, phosphate, iron, chlorine, and hardness.
According to the experiments, it was established that bottled water contained fewer contaminants in their mineral composition. The pH levels were also lower in bottled water compared to tap water thus indicating that water filtration and other procedures used in water bottling were effective in eliminating harmful microorganisms.
The measures established by water bottling companies were regarded as useful in the control of waterborne diseases (Goncharuk, 2014). For example, high levels of chlorine were recorded in the two brands of bottled water thus implying that the chemical is heavily used in water treatment and bottling plants. Therefore, bottled water presents antimicrobial benefits thus helping to prevent the prevalence of waterborne ailments.
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Concerns have also been raised over the safety of rainwater as an alternative to bottled and tap water. However, it is worth noting that although rain water does not contain any impurities, it eventually gets contaminated upon hitting the ground due to the presence of contaminants that exist either in the soil or water bodies (Waite, 2012). As such, it is evident that the processes involved in water bottling are useful in eliminating harmful contaminants and softening it for human consumption (Goncharuk, 2014). Regarding the hypothesis, it is possible to conclude that bottled water is safer for use thus it is worth paying the price for a healthy drink.
It is also critical to note that the quality of bottled water varies from one company to another (Ware, 2012). For instance, the level of contaminants including minerals in various brands of bottled water varies depending on a company’s source of raw water and the steps utilized in purifying it. The bottled water industry has experienced tremendous growth in the past few years due to the increasing awareness of the need to consume safe water. The introduction of flavored mineral water has also created a niche for bottling companies through which they can attract and retain more customers and subsequently raising the demand for their products (Goncharuk, 2014).
Despite the rising demand for bottled water, however, concerns have been raised over the safety of water that is packed in plastic containers. Plastics are believed to release carcinogenic elements especially when subjected to high temperatures in enclosed places such as the inside of a vehicle. Although studies are yet to establish a clear standpoint regarding the same, it is necessary for consumers to take precautionary measures to avoid implications which include the growth of cancer cells due to the accumulation of carcinogenic residues in the body.
The experiment focused on identifying the presence of various chemicals in the water. However, it would be necessary to establish the extent to which the chemicals affect normal body functions in humans when ingested in varying quantities (Goncharuk, 2014). Therefore, a future experiment will focus on the ratio of contaminants to water in a given sample and seek the implications of such ratios. The idea is based on the fact that some mineral components were observed to have varying concentrations in the three water samples. For example, high levels of chlorine are regarded as detrimental the bones and other body functions. Therefore, it would be necessary to establish the sample that had the right amount of chlorine and other components. Also, the experiment will utilize different testing techniques to get results that reflect a clearer analysis of the samples to be tested.
The consumption of bottled water presents a greater significance as opposed to consuming tap water. The purification processes utilized in bottling plants are designed to ensure that the water retains as many natural components as possible. Therefore, it is advisable for consumers to prefer the bottled water over tap water which could contain contaminants acquired from the soil, underground or surface catchment points. As such, it is evident that purchasing bottled water is beneficial to an individual’s wellness.
Goncharuk, V. V. (2014). Drinking water: Physics, chemistry, and biology.
Waite, T. D. (2012). Principles of Water Quality. Oxford: Elsevier Science.
Ware, G. W. (2012). Reviews of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology: Continuation of Residue Reviews. New York, NY: Springer New York.