Quick reference: Tap water versus bottled water

Why use tap water rather than bottled water? Here is some material you can use when
you are questioned by sceptics.

  • Health Canada’s Water Quality and Health Bureau plays a leadership role in science and research. Its mandate and expertise are aimed at protecting the health of all Canadians by developing the Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality in partnership with the provinces and territories. These guidelines are used by every jurisdiction in Canada and are the basis for establishing drinking water quality requirements for all Canadians.
  • The drinking water processed by the seven filtration plants and distributed through the City of Montréal’s waterworks system is of excellent quality and complies with the regulations in effect for protecting public health. It also meets Quebec standards for lead levels.
  • Studies have shown that no North American bottled water is safer or better for your health than tap water. Furthermore, the regulatory framework for producing drinking water is stricter in most North American municipalities than the regulations for bottled water.
  • Bottled water is regulated under the Food and Drugs Act. However, it is important to note that, at the present time, unlike water from Canadian municipal waterworks, bottled water does not meet all the criteria established in the Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality.
  • According to the UN, some large companies in certain developing countries use forced labour to meet their quotas. Such companies are contributing to the draining of groundwater supplies.
  • According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, bottled water sells at 240 to 10,000 times the price of tap water.
  • Tap water is fresher because it only stays in the supply system for 1 to 3 days, compared to several weeks or even several months with bottled water.
  • Plastic bottles are made from fossil fuels and chemical products. More than 12 billion bottles are manufactured annually in North America alone and the vast majority of them are not recycled. Every year, more than 50 million bottles end up in landfill sites in the United States.


Sources: Health Canada; City of Montréal; TTony Clarke, Inside the Bottle, An Exposé of the Bottled Water


Please download the Quick References as PDF:  QuickReferences.pdf




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