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Food & diet

“Tap water is less pure and healthy than bottled water”: true or false?

March 26, 2018

March 22nd is the World Water Day. According to a Censes analysis, almost 62% of Italians buy bottled water for a total of about 192 liters per person per year. The habit of buying bottled water is often motivated by the fact that it is believed to be a water of better quality and safety than tap water. True or false? We asked Dr. Manuela Pastore, clinical dietician of the Health Directorate of the Humanitas Clinical Institute.


“False. Like bottled water, the tap water is also subject to legal controls to ensure its quality and wholesomeness. In terms of the origin and purity of water, both bottled and tap water often come from pure water sources that can be treated and/or contaminated in both cases. The threshold for the addition of chlorine and its disinfection byproducts is among the lowest in Europe in Italy (100 mg/l in Europe, 30 in Italy) and does not represent any health concern. In addition, tap water is subject to regular and rigorous laboratory controls, in many cases even weekly, which allow the detection of any variation in substances that could be harmful to health. In this case, the competent authorities would immediately prohibit the consumption of tap water for human consumption. The fact that tap water, before arriving on our tables and in our glasses, travels inside pipes, does not make it less pure. In fact, the water that reaches our taps flows and is constantly renewed, while the water in the bottle, especially in plastic bottles, if not properly stored, may not be healthy according to the criteria applied for the municipal aqueduct.


Does tap water, which is richer in limestone, harm health?


If the concern is about the limestone content because there is a fear that kidney stones might occur, reassurance comes from the World Health Organization. While lime-rich water can damage appliances, it is not dangerous for the body and does not cause kidney stones. As it is naturally low in sodium, tap water is suitable for a hyposodic diet that is useful, among other indications, in counteracting water retention”.

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