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What's That Floating in Your Water?



Most people who drink bottled water do so precisely because they think it's cleaner than tap water. But according to Garrett, "just because it comes in a bottle doesn't mean it's safe."


So how likely are you to be sickened by your next swig? Fortunately, not very.


"For your typical consumer, bottled water is probably quite safe," says Garrett. But those who can't fight off infection -- people undergoing chemotherapy or with advanced AIDs, the very old, and the very young -- "have to understand that bottled water is not sterile. They are at particular risk [of serious illness] from contamination of any water product, bottled or not," she tells WebMD.


Given that, says Garrett, those at high risk "might want to consider drinking chlorinated water or a water product that has a biologically active disinfectant in it."


If you're wondering where you might find such an exotic product -- consider your kitchen sink.


"Tap water [from a U.S. municipal source] has biologically active chlorine in it at the time of consumption. There is something actively killing bacteria as you put it in your mouth," Says Garrett.


Still, things can go wrong at the best treatment facilities, and dangerous bugs sometimes slip through. While healthy folks may not even notice, those at risk could become gravely ill. Although the CDC will not make any formal, standardized recommendations at this time, Garrett suggests that those at high risk "recognize that fact and consider boiling your water to make it truly safe."


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