What's That Floating in Your Water?
WebMD News Archive
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."