Water (in Latin, Aqua) is a substance whose molecule consists of two atoms of hydrogen and one of oxygen (H2O). It is essential for the survival of all known forms of life. From the physical point of view, water is constantly circulated in a cycle of evaporation or transpiration (evapotranspiration), precipitation and flowing back to the sea.
The total amount of water on the planet in all its forms is called the hydrosphere and covers three quarters (71%) of the surface of the Earth. Water can be found almost anywhere in the biosphere and in the substance’s three states: solid, liquid and gas.
The human body is composed of 60% water, depending on height and build. In children the figure is 70 or 80%, in adults 60% and in elderly persons it is 50%. The recommended daily water intake varies depending on level of activity, temperature, humidity and other factors, although a majority of experts believe a minimum of between 6 and 9 glasses (1.5 L – 2 L) of mineral water is needed daily to maintain adequate hydration. Health officials are glad to see more water going down our throats because caffeinated soft drinks, coffee and alcohol all suck more water from our bodies than they provide.
Problems with Commonly Used Waters
Tap water is a healthier option than soft drinks. But according to the Environmental Working Group, there have been 315 pollutants found in America's tap water since 2004, and over half of these pollutants are completely unregulated and can legally exist in any amount.
At the current levels of contamination, the public is starting to question the quality of tap water and wonders if it is safe enough to drink.
Bottled water is not necessarily healthier than tap water and yet it costs much more! Although associated with healthy water, bottled water is not guaranteed to be any healthier than tap water. Often the only difference is the added minerals, which have no proven health benefits.
A four-year study by the Natural Resources Defense Council shows that 1/3 of the bottled water tested contains levels of contamination which exceed allowable limits. Bottled water can also be slightly acidic, which may affect your body's pH balance. Finally, the environmental impact caused by the production and disposal of plastic bottles is harmful to our ecosystem.
Reverse Osmosis Water
Reverse Osmosis is a filtering process that treats water and is commonly used in bottled water facilities. The problem with this process is it could remove healthy, naturally occurring water minerals. These minerals not only provide good taste, they also serve a vital function in the body's system. When stripped of these minerals, water can be unhealthy. Also, 2-3 gallons of water are wasted for every gallon of purified water produced.
So, how do you know what's actually inside that bottle? Is it really spring fresh, or is it tap water run through a filter?
There are rules that pertain to the labeling of bottled water:
- Drinking water means the water is bottled in sanitary conditions and contains no added sweeteners or chemical additives, though it may contain some flavoring.
- Mineral water means it contains at least 250 parts per million of total dissolved solids. But the minerals in the water must be naturally occurring in the water and may not be added later.
- Purified water means it's been run through a filtration process, and most likely came from agency sources.
- Spring water must be collected from an actual spring.