In most people’s minds, the bottled water you buy at the supermarket should be clean and safe—more so than tap water anyway. So, you can understand people’s confusion after it was recently discovered that China’s current standards for bottled water are actually much lower than they are for regular tap water.
There are 106 items listed in the “Standards for Drinking Water Quality” (GB 5749-2006), but only 21 standards listed in the “Hygienic standard of bottled water for drinking” (GB 19298-2003). Inexplicably, toxicological indicators for mercury, silver, carbon tetrachloride, formaldehyde, as well as more commonly seen water quality standards for pH and hardness are found nowhere in China’s national standards for bottled water.
Addressing this issue, an expert from the Chinese Center for Disease Control said that there are fewer indicators for bottled water because it comes from tap water, so if the tap water passes the examination, then the bottled water should not need to be tested a second time. However in practice, due to the on-going development of the industry, many companies no longer use tap water, such as Nongfu Springs, which uses “natural water” sources.
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