Google+ Consumer Psyche: Mineral water or Plain?

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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Mineral water or Plain?

That was what the waiter asked us when I went to dine with a friend at M G Road. Plain came the reply. Were we going to drink normal water unboiled filled with a lot of disease causing germs? Should we have opted for mineral water that is treated and all the germs are killed? Was I supposed to pay 28 rupees for the packaging and the brand or was the money being charged for the purity of the H2O inside? If you think mineral water or branded packaged water is 100% clean, then you are grossly mistaken. May be the water comes from Himalayas or the Ganges! I don't really know. How could I? Should I trust the label?

Labels can be misleading at best, deceptive at worst. In one notorious case, water coming from a well located near a hazardous waste site was sold to many bottlers. At least one of these companies labeled its product "spring water." In another case, H2O sold as "pure glacier water" came from a public water system in Alaska.  More than 25 percent of it comes from the local municipal supply. The water is treated, purified and sold to us, often at a thousandfold increase in price. Most people are surprised to learn that they're drinking glorified tap water, but bottlers aren't required to list the source on the label. 

The controversy isn't simply about tap vs. bottled water; most people drink both, knowing the importance of plenty of water. What they may not know is that some bottled water may not be as pure as they expect. In 1999 the NRDC tested more than 1,000 bottles of 103 brands of water. (This is the most recent major report on bottled water safety.) While noting that most bottled water is safe, the organization found that at least one sample of a third of the brands contained bacterial or chemical contaminants, including carcinogens, in levels exceeding state or industry standards. Since the report, no major regulatory changes have been made and bottlers haven't drastically altered their procedures, so the risk is likely still there.

So the risk can be around 60% less when compared to consuming clean plain water. So you decide. Plain water or Bottle? 
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