Bottled water costs premium. Mineral water even more. But is it worth it? A German consumer watchdog tested mineral waters and found some unpleasant surprises.
Queen Of Waters: Mineral Water
Remember that about two years ago I wrote that Aquafina and Dasani are nothing but tap water sold for a premium?
Of course, those two are for water rookies anyway. They are aimed at the people who jumped on the “water is healthy” bandwagon and still want a branded product.
True health pros pay even more and go for the invigorating and virginal purity only found in water bubbling from a single spring: mineral water.
But where does the water feeding the spring come from? A quick peek over to Germany gives us an unsettling idea.
Of Pesticides And Anticorrosive
My home country is often seen as the land of the beer drinkers and, with us sporting about 6,000 variations, there is some truth to that.
But we also are large on drinking bottled mineral water and home to around a couple of hundred brands that claim some form of “original purity” derived from being “naturally filtered through ancient volcanic rock.”
If it’s that ancient, one should hope that no saber-tooth tiger pee comes with it.
For the German equivalent of Consumer Reports, Stiftung Warentest, the waxing was reason enough to check how much fact backs the prose. They tested 30 sparkling mineral waters (German language) and discovered things more modern:
- 10 waters contained degradation products of pesticides
- 1 contained allergy triggering nickel
- 24 had low to very low mineral content
- 3 were tainted with germs
- 1 came with degradation products from anticorrosive
How does all that get in there? I wager that rain feeds the springs and first passes through everything in the way. If that’s a field, you get traces of whatever was applied to it: pesticides to protect wheat, artificial sweeteners from the gunk cows were fed and who’ll then pass it on the natural way.
Just Drink Tap Water
To be sure, Stiftung Warentest says that the pesticide etc. levels weren’t dangerous, but does hint that there’s hardly any reason to pay premium. Because you get the same or better from a tap. A US study already in 2004 came to the conclusion that the mineral content in tap water is as good as in bottled water.
I have been drinking tap water for years. So far no adverse effects were noticed, despite what Pepsico and Coca-Cola try to tell us. An adverse effect for them was that I didn’t pay them money for what I can get for free.
Picture courtesy of Steven Depolo.