Yes. While tap is regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), bottled water falls under the regulation of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It is regulated as a food product in the U.S.
Many states also have additional monitoring and licensing requirements for bottled water sold within their borders.
Not necessarily. Bottled water does not have to be contaminant free, but it cannot contain any contaminant at a level that exceeds the FDA or state's maximum allowable amount.
To learn more about the quality of a particular brand, contact the bottler and request a copy of their most recent water quality analysis.
While the FDA does require bottled water companies to monitor and conduct regular testing of their products, it isn't required that they have independent audits or product quality testing by a third party.
Companies that do so are taking an extra step to provide their customers with added assurance that their products comply with all applicable state and federal regulations.
Just as tap water quality varies from city to city, bottled water quality will vary from one product to the next, depending upon the quality of the source water and the treatment it undergoes at the bottling facility.
Consumers can request a copy of their city's annual water quality report as well as a detailed independent analysis from their favorite bottled water company. The two reports can then be compared to determine which product best meets personal needs.
Unopened bottled water products can usually be stored indefinitely, provided the bottles are kept in the proper environment.
Keep bottled water away from chemicals, such as cleaning compounds, paints, or gasoline. In addition, don't store bottled water in a garage or storage shed. If you suspect any of your stored bottled water has become contaminated (smells funny, showing algae growth, etc.), discard or boil it before using it in an emergency.
To find NSF certified bottled waters, visit the online product database.