Commercially Bottled Water
Americans spend billions of dollars every year on commercially bottled water. People choose bottled water for a variety of reasons including taste, convenience, as a substitute for other beverages, or because of perceived health benefits.
Bottled Water Regulation
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates the safety of bottled water and bases its standards on the EPA standards for tap water. If these standards are met, water is considered safe for most healthy individuals. The bottled water industry must also follow FDA’s good manufacturing practices for processing and bottling drinking water.
Read the label on your bottled water to learn where the water comes from and how it has been treated to make it safe for drinking.
While there is currently no standardized label for bottled water, labels may tell you about the way the water is treated. Check the label for a toll-free number or web page address of the company that bottled the water to learn more.
Bottled Water and People with Weakened Immune Systems
People with weakened immune systems, such as people with HIV, diabetes, organ transplants or going through chemotherapy, should take special precautions with the water they drink. The parasite Cryptosporidium can cause chronic or severe illness and even life-threatening symptoms in people with weakened immune systems. Healthy people would be more likely to develop a mild illness from this parasite.
Look for the following types of treatments for bottled water that protect against Cryptosporidium:
- Reverse osmosis
- Filtration with an absolute 1micron filter
Learn more about Cryptosporidium and commercially bottled water.
Bottled Water and Outbreaks
Although illness outbreaks associated with bottled water are rarely reported, they do occur. It is important for bottled water manufacturers, distributors, and consumers to do these things:
- Protect and properly treat water before bottling
- Maintain good manufacturing processes
- Protect bottled water during shipping and storage
- Prevent contamination after consumers purchase bottled water
If you suspect an illness resulting from drinking bottled water, contact your local public health department.
Contaminated bottled water can harm your health, including causing gastrointestinal illness, reproductive problems, and neurological disorders. Infants, young children, pregnant women, the elderly, and people with weakened immune systems may be more likely to get sick from some contaminants.
- CDC’s Community Water Fluoridation Bottled Water FAQs
- Summaries on water-related surveillance data: CDC’s Surveillance Reports for Drinking Water-associated Disease & Outbreaks.
- Information on the most recently reported bottled water outbreaks: NORS Dashboard (Select “Waterborne” only outbreaks, and then both “bottled” and “commercially-bottled water” under the Water Type field.)
- Bottled Water Everywhere: Keeping it Safe | FDA
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Bottled Water Regulations
- EPA Ground Water and Drinking Water Information