Public drinking water is one of the most regulated industries in the United States today. If you want a drink with a different taste, you can buy bottled water, but it costs about 1,000 times as much as tap water. Remember that the U.S. bottled-water industry is less regulated than public drinking water systems. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration only requires that the bottled water be clear and safe for human consumption. The quality of the finished product is not monitored (i.e., the FDA imposes no specific water quality requirements on bottled water). Certain bottlers simply fill their bottles with city drinking water, thus producing “bottled water.” Studies have shown that microbes grow in the bottles while on grocers’ shelves. Bottled water is popular; its use in the United States has doubled in the last six years.

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