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Tap water 'better than bottled brands'

The Local · 28 Jun 2012, 16:17

Published: 28 Jun 2012 16:17 GMT+02:00

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Consumer rights watchdog the Stiftung Warentest tested 29 different brands of bottled water and also tap water, for mineral content, contamination levels and retail price.

They found that two thirds of bottled water contained barely any of the minerals that they claimed to have and in many cases, drinking a glass of the wet stuff from a tap was by far more beneficial health-wise.

Germs are also tricky for the bottled water industry - as in over a third of the bottles tested the Warentest experts found some sort of bacteria. This would not necessarily be dangerous, but the potential was there for people with weakened immune systems, and babies, to become ill.

It depended, they said, on the type of germs in the water and the same standards applied to both tap and bottled water – which by law can contain a certain level of harmless bacteria.

But tap water was subjected to much more rigorous testing for contamination from chemicals such as pesticides or uranium – with lower levels acceptable for tap rather than bottled water.

Pricing differed wildly too, as inspectors found that in the western city of Cologne for example, inhabitants pay just 0.3 cents for a litre of water fresh from the tap.

If they were to go to a discount supermarket, this would go up to 13 cents per litre. Those coughing up for well known brands such as Vittel or Gerolsteiner were paying over 50 cents per litre.

Story continues below…

The Local/jcw

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

20:39 June 28, 2012 by Omufu
Bottled water is the most insane waste of resources and barely justifiable in a country with great tap water. If the taste of tap water really bothers you then buy a filter.

Google "bottled water infographic" for a quick overview of the facts and figures showing why it's such a crazy-bad idea in general (especially for the environment).
23:21 June 28, 2012 by McM
I'll drink to that. I recall a comedian who was in fear of the car industry changing to water powered engines. 'have you ever bought water from a service station?' he queried. I cost more per liter than petrol!
05:03 June 29, 2012 by Lisa Rusbridge
When visiting a friend's home I asked for water from the kitchen tap since they only served alcohol with meals. From their expressions one would have thought I asked to drink from a dirty toilet. I didn't care for the carbonated water and simply think tap water with lemon is far tastier with a meal. There was no lemon though, so I was good with the plain water. They were still mystified.

Fortunately I knew not to dare request tap water in a restaurant because apparently it is considered rude, and may have gotten me shunned and banished from the country!
10:01 June 29, 2012 by JDee
bottled water is a useful convenience when you're on the road but buying bottled water to take home is insane, basically the human brain is very primitive and delusional and that's why many people do it..
11:52 June 29, 2012 by Wrench
I always ask for tap water at restaurants here in Germany and the people look at me as if I was something they just scraped of the bottom of their shoe. I don't like sparkling water anyway (unless you add a little vodka) and for some reason that is all they serve. Why is that?
15:03 June 29, 2012 by Leo Strauss
German tap water is great and has neither florid nor Bosphenol A!
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