Purified Wate Water

Understanding Spring Water

While spring water and purified water can come from exactly the same underground sources, the treatment processes that are involved in the two varieties can vary rather greatly. In general, spring water must come from protected, pure underground sources to carry this moniker.

According to the IBWA, spring water that is bottled must come from an underground source that has natural water flow to the earth's surface. The water itself must be gathered from the spring or from a borehole that taps into an underground formation. To earn the title of spring water, the collected water itself must carry all the same properties prior to treatment that the spring contains.

Spring water is subjected to the same FDA and IBWA standards that other forms of bottled water must adhere to. This means that it must be tested for quality and that some form of treatment is generally called for to insure safety and purity.

The Purified Water Difference

Depending on the supplier in question, purified bottled water might actually come from the exact same source as spring water. This, however, is where the two varieties differ.

To earn the name "purified," water must undergo one or more specialized treatment processes, according to the IBWA. The options include distillation, reverse osmosis, deionization and so on. Purified water, in essence, is highly treated drinking water that does not contain the chemical compounds found in the public water supply. Chlorine aftertastes, for example, will not be found within purified water.

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Spring Water Myths

MYTH: Spring water is the "natural" version of purified water.
REALITY: Spring water and purified water are very different. Purified water has had impurities and contaminants removed. Spring water may have been disinfected, but most impurities and contaminants remain. In terms of quality, spring water is much closer to tap water than purified water.

MYTH: The impurities found in spring water are things your body needs.
REALITY: Everyone needs vitamins and minerals, but the best source for these essentials will always be a well-balanced diet. In truth, the quantities of "good" minerals found in most spring waters won't make much of a difference in your overall mineral intake. The bottom line: if you follow a balanced diet, the effect of minerals in your water is negligible.
What's not commonly recognized is that many of the impurities found in spring water are clearly things your body does not need. Believe it or not, one of the best-selling spring waters in the country lists such items as nitrates, sodium, and sulfates right on the label! Other potentially harmful contaminants, such as herbicide and pesticide residues, are present in many spring waters, but are not listed on the label.

MYTH: Government regulations ensure that spring water has to be significantly purer and healthier than what's coming out of the tap.
REALITY: Not even close. Government regulations pertaining to spring water are mainly designed to ensure that the water is free from certain harmful bacteria and that bottling is done under clean and sanitary conditions. There are no special requirements for "purity" of spring water products. In fact, some of the most popular spring water brands actually have a much higher impurity level than the average glass of U.S. municipal tap water.

MYTH: Spring water emerges naturally from deep within the earth.
REALITY: Most spring waters are drawn to the surface through elaborate pumping systems, rather than "springing" forth naturally.

MYTH: Spring water comes from an ecologically pristine, protected source.
REALITY: Actually, it could come from just about anywhere. In most cases, it's very unlikely you'll be drinking water from a truly protected source. Think about it: how many ecologically pristine, protected spots do you know about where you could just go in and set up a huge pumping system and water bottling plant?

MYTH: "Pure spring water" has no impurities or contaminants.
REALITY: All spring water contains impurities - pure H2O simply doesn't occur naturally. Water is often described as the "universal solvent," and water from any natural source will contain impurities that are dissolved from the environment from which it was drawn. When the label on a bottle says "100% pure" spring water, all it means is that 100% of the water in the bottle came from a spring. In some cases, even this is not true. In no case does this claim mean that the water meets any commonly accepted definition of "pure". Many people are surprised to find that such misleading labeling is in fact perfectly legal.

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