We are often asked what the differences are between the various bottled waters. So I decided to explain it here.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has established a Standard Of Identity that defines the different types of bottled water based on specific product characteristics. Bottled-water products meeting the Standard Of Identity may be labeled as bottled water or drinking water, or one or more of the following terms:
▪ Artesian Water/Artesian Well Water – Ground water from a well that taps a confined aquifer (a water-bearing underground layer of rock or sand) in which the water level stands at some height above the top of the aquifer.
▪ Well Water – Ground water from a hole bored, drilled or otherwise constructed in the ground, which taps the water aquifer.
▪ Spring Water – Bottled water from an underground formation from which water flows naturally to the surface of the earth. Spring water must be collected only at the spring or through a borehole tapping the underground formation feeding the spring. Spring water collected with the use of an external force must be from the same underground stratum as the spring and must have all the physical properties before treatment, and be of the same composition and quality as the water that flows naturally to the surface of the earth.
▪ Mineral Water – Ground water that naturally contains not less than 250 parts per million total dissolved solids (tds). No minerals can be added to this product. Mineral water is distinguished from other types of bottled water by its constant level and relative proportions of mineral and trace elements at the point of emergence from the source.
▪ Sparkling Bottled Water – Water that after treatment, and possible replacement with carbon dioxide, contains the same amount of carbon dioxide that it had as it emerged from the source. Sparkling bottled waters may be labeled as “sparkling drinking water,” “sparkling mineral water,” “sparkling spring water,” etc.
▪ Purified Water – Water that originates from any source but has been treated by distillation, deionization, reverse osmosis or other suitable processes to meet the U.S. Pharmacopeia definition of purified water. It is essentially free of all chemicals (it must not contain more than 10 parts per million of total dissolved solids), and may also be free of microbes if treated by distillation or reverse osmosis. Purified water may alternately be labeled according to how it is treated: distilled water, deionized water, reverse osmosis water. Alternatively, “___ drinking water” can be used with the blank being filled in with one of the terms defined in this paragraph (e.g., “purified drinking water” or “distilled drinking water”).
Carbonated water, soda water, seltzer water, sparkling water and tonic water are considered soft drinks and are not regulated as bottled w