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Safe Water: What To Know

Confused by all the recent water controversies? Let us help.

Surprised? Sure, bottled is often more convenient than tap water, but it's not necessarily any safer, according to the EPA. The agency recommends checking the bottle's label to see what you're really getting. Label names like "glacier" or "mountain" water don't mean a thing. Terms that do have meaning (such as artesian, spring, distilled, and mineral) tell you where the water came from or how it was treated. You should also check for a symbol from either the International Bottled Water Association (IBWA), NSF International (formerly the National Sanitation Foundation), or Underwriters Laboratories Inc. (UL), which guarantee the water has been tasted for safety.

It's cool to refill an old water bottle once or twice, but don't make the same bottle your everyday drinking cup. Studies show that since these bottles are only designed for a single use, certain potentially harmful chemicals can seep out of the plastic when they're filled and emptied repeated times.

There are ways to make the water you get for free more palatable, without resorting to daily Poland Spring deliveries. According to the EPA, more than 90% of the home filtration systems on the market meet the agency's guidelines for health and safety. But if you're only trying to improve the quality of your water's flavor, you may not even need them. If your water simply tastes like chlorine, leaving it exposed to the air for a few minutes will allow the chemical to escape your drink, taking its bitter flavor with it. Turned off by the cloudiness? It's air. Let it sit, and the water should become clearer within several minutes. If it doesn't, then you've got a problem.

See Also:
Water Boosters
Sports Drinks: The Facts

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