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Well, this is troubling:

Over the past few years, as consumers have worried more about the quality of municipal tap water, bottled water has surged in popularity. It’s now the nation’s best-selling bottled beverage, according to the International Bottled Water Association. But a [Consumer Reports] investigation has found that in some cases bottled water on store shelves contains more potentially harmful arsenic than tap water flowing into some homes.

Arsenic – only one of the most toxic elements on Earth.

“It makes no sense that consumers can purchase bottled water that is less safe than tap water,” says James Dickerson, Ph.D., chief scientific officer at Consumer Reports. “If anything, bottled water—a product for which people pay a premium, often because they assume it’s safer—should be regulated at least as strictly as tap water.”

Yet for many, tap water isn’t much of an option either – not if you live in a community that fluoridates. Fluoride ranks among the most toxic elements, too.

So what to do?

water bottlesFirst, if you drink bottled water, know what you’re getting. Many brands of “purified” water are nothing more than bottled municipal water that may or may not have received extra treatment. Sometimes, fluoride is added, as well.

Spring water can be a better option, but some brands may contain naturally occurring fluoride and arsenic. You’ll find info on brands to avoid here.

Still, with most brands of bottled water, you also have the issue of plastic to contend with. Not only is plastic less than environmentally friendly, it’s not so great for your personal health either – and not just because of the effects of environmental pollution. Some of the chemicals used to make plastic can end up leeching into the water. BPA is perhaps the most notorious of these, being a known endocrine disruptor.

The best option is simply to purify your own drinking water and then store it in non-plastic containers. But what’s the best method?

Distillation is one option, which involves boiling the water then condensing the steam back into water. But distilled water is essentially dead water. All the trace minerals – calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and so on – are lost in the process. These minerals are critical for good oral health.

glass of water A better option is filtration. It’s important to note, though, that not all filtration methods will remove fluoride. The basic charcoal filters you find in most pitcher systems isn’t going to cut it.

Filtration methods that do “get the F out” include bone char, ion-matrix, and activated alumnia. If you invest in such a filtration system, make sure that it’s set up to remove fluoride and that you follow the recommended maintenance plan to make sure your system keeps working as intended.

Then there’s reverse osmosis, which uses pressure to force water through a membrane to keep your water contaminant-free. However, like distillation, this removes the good minerals, as well, so if you opt for such a system, you’ll want to add a remineralization filter or otherwise restore those essential minerals.

Your teeth – and body – will thank you.

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