Hey Mom! Have you ever looked at all those bottles of water at the supermarket that are competing for your hard earned dollar and wondered how they got there? It wasn't that long ago that we all drank tapwater without a second thought. What's changed?

Well, when it comes to the safety of your tapwater here in the Washington metro area, the answer is not much! Water utilities in the city and surrounding suburbs test their product – tapwater – every day. Tapwater in this part of the country routinely meets federal safety standards for various concentrations, including lead. With the exception of a few brief and well publicized periods, tapwater in this part of the country was safe to drink when you were a kid, and it's safe to drink now!

Here are a few things you should know about tapwater:

Tapwater Meets Stricter Standards
Public water utilities are regulated more stringently than private water bottlers. That means they have to test their water more often, open their facilities to more inspections, and meet higher standards for the water they provide your family to drink and cook with.

All tap water must meet the uniform standards set by the federal Safe Water Drinking Act (SWDA). The U.S. Environmental Protection Agencies enforces the SWDA and establishes minimum standards for all public water utilities. Bottled water companies know that tapwater is safe – that's why so many of them simply take tapwater, put it in a bottle, and sell it to you for hundreds of times what they paid for it

Tapwater Problems are Publicized Better
When something goes wrong with tapwater – and it sometimes does – you know about it. Public water utilities are required to provide consumer confidence reports to their customers annually. The reports contain information on contaminants, possible health effects, and the source of the water. Also, if tap water has become contaminated with something that can cause sickness as a result of short-term exposure, water suppliers must inform consumers within 24 hours.

But with bottled water, it's a different story. Inspectors don't drop by very often.
We're all counting on the bottled water companies to let us know if they uncover a problem at their bottling plant.

Tapwater is Healthier for Kids
For growing children, tapwater has a clear health benefit over bottled water: Flouride. Bottled water companies often remove the flouride so they can slap the «pure» label on their bottle – but this is one case where «pure» and «healthy» don't necesarily go hand in hand. In children who use toothpaste while brushing their teeth, studies have indicated that cavities were reduced even further with children who drank fluoridated tapwater.

Tapwater is Healthier for the Environment
From an environmental perspective, tapwater is the superior choice. Despite brand names that all seem to include the word «spring,» many of these companies aren't in the water business at all, they're really in the business of selling bottles. And those bottles are an environmental problem. Even after being hauled to the landfill, plastic bottles take many centuries (between 400-1000 years) to biodegrade. A glance around a public park will confirm that many bottles don’t even make it to the landfill. Plastic bottles also cost in terms of fuel for the trucks to haul it to the stores, and electricity for storage until the consumer buys it.

Tapwater is safe and healthy choice for your family. It's safe because it's tested often and any problems are communicated immediately. It's healthy for your family because it is treated with flouride and it's healthy for the environment because it avoids the problems of plastic bottles.

If you like the taste of some brand of bottled water, then go right ahead and enjoy. But if you have been misled into thinking that you need to buy bottled water or filter your tapwater to protect your family, learn the facts about tapwater and reconsider.

Author's Bio: 

Are you raising a family in the Washington DC metro area? Are you interested in tips about government services and other useful information for moms like you? If yes, then check out the Metro DC Mom Blog. This article was placed in this directory by the environmental awareness company Water Words That Work, LLC.