Bottled water put to the test

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DENVER — More Americans than ever are drinking bottled water. Studies show many young people are more likely to drink bottled water because they think it’s healthier.

While the world’s 3,000 bottled water brands want you to think their water is special, if you take a closer look, you may be surprised at where it’s really coming from.

Labels make sparkling claims. Things like “purified through a vigorous process,” “enhanced with minerals,” “born better,” “water that filters through volcanic rock.”

But what does the lab show? FOX31 Denver tested top sellers including Aquafina, Dasani, Arrowhead, Fiji and Kirkland Signature bottled water from Costco.

We asked an expert from Colorado State University, Dr. Pinar Omur Ozbek, to test the water.

The water was tested for bacteria, lead, pesticides and chlorine — all could make you sick.

We also looked at the pH and hardness of the water, which can make it taste sour or bitter.

Our test results show all five top brands meet the environmental protection agency’s guidelines for safe water.

We saw a difference in our testing in factors that affect taste. There were more minerals which make the water “harder” in Dasani and Arrowhead. That’s not a bad thing. Fiji also tested as “harder.” It claims it is rainwater filtered through volcanic rock that add minerals for taste.

“Volcanic rocks might have some benefits as we talked, as we talked minerals are good for us so that could have some health benefits,” says Dr. Ozbek.

All the brands we screened claim elaborate processes to clean and purify the water. The marketing may make you feel good, but our expert says it’s not necessary. “I think some of the steps are over kill. You don`t need that many steps to purify water.”

Bottled water and tap water must meet strict requirements, but if you drink only bottled water you may miss out on minerals and fluoride.

Many of the bottles themselves are now BPA-free and some are even made from plants.

Americans drink enough bottles of water every day to circle the earth’s equator.

See a comparison of mineral content in tap water vs. various bottled water brands

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