Drinking Water Rules and Regulations Tap Water is covered by EPA rules that apply to big city
tap water :
City tap water can
have no confirmed E.coli or fecal coliform bacteria. FDA bottled water
rules include no such prohibition (a certain amount of any type of
coliform bacteria is allowed in bottled water).
City tap water, from
surface water, must be filtered and disinfected. In contrast, there are no
federal filtration or disinfection requirements for bottled water.
Most cities using
surface water have had to test for Cryptosporidium or Giardia, two common
water pathogens, that can cause diarrhea and other intestinal problems,
yet bottled water companies do not have to do this.
City tap water must
meet standards for certain important toxic or cancer-causing chemicals,
such as phthalate (a chemical that can leach from plastic, including
plastic bottles); some in the industry persuaded FDA to exempt bottled
water from the regulations regarding these chemicals.
City water systems
must issue annual "right to know" reports, telling consumers
what is in their water. Bottlers successfully killed a "right to
know" requirement for bottled water.
Bottled Water is covered by FDA's specific bottled water standards.
Bottled water is regulated at the federal and state level. At the federal
level, bottled water is regulated as a food and, therefore, comes under the
jurisdiction of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Bottled water is
subject to the requirements of the federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, and,
if it is sold as a consumer commodity, is subject to the Fair Packaging and
In the code of Federal Regulations, FDA has established standard
of identity and standard of quality regulations for bottled water (21 CFR
103.35 and 165.l10), and current good manufacturing practice (CGMP) regulations
for processing and bottling of bottled drinking water (21 CFR part 129). FDA’s rules are
weaker in many ways than EPA (Tap Water) rules.
"To the people of poor nations, we
pledge to work alongside you to make
your farms flourish and LetCleanWatersFlow, to nourish starved
bodies and feed hungry minds. And to those nations like ours that enjoy
relative plenty, we say we can no longer afford indifference to
suffering outside our borders; nor can we consume the world's resources
without regard to effect. For the world has changed, and we must change
with it". Source: President Obama, Inaugural Speech, January 20, 2009, Washington, DC, USA.