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What You Need to Know About Water, Part 2

As mentioned in the previous article, there is tap water which can be hard or soft, bottled water which can be artesian, deionized or demineralized water, ground water, mineral water, natural-spring water, sparkling water and steam-distilled water.   

Let's take a closer look.  

Hard Water versus Soft Water   
Hard water contains high mineral concentrations such as calcium and magnesium.  These minerals prevent soap from lathering and result in filmy sediments being deposited on clothes, skin, hair, dishes and anything else that comes into contact with the water.

Soft water can be naturally soft or hard that had been treated to remove the calcium and magnesium.  The benefit of soft water includes improved cleaning properties and less mineral buildup inside household pipes and equipment.

**One potential problem of artificially softened water is that it can dissolve the lining of pipes over time.

Bottled Water
Usually classified by the source (spring, spa, geyser, public water supply, etc.), by its mineral content (containing at least 250 part per million of dissolved solids), and/or the type of treatment (deionized, steam-distilled, etc.) it has undergone.

Most states have no rules that govern appropriate bottled water labeling. The EPA regulates public water supply; however, the US Food and Drug Administration oversees the quality and safety of bottled water.  

FDA regulations for bottled water allow for various terms that have been defined and used.  Terms found on bottled water that may or may not have a legal definition can mean anything the manufacturer says it means.

    Artesian water - or well water, is drawn from wells where the water is brought to the surface by flow.
    Bottled water - intended for human consumption and is sealed in a bottle or other container.
    Deionized or Demineralized water - the addition or removal of electrically charged molecules in water.  This process removes nitrates and the minerals calcium and magnesium as well as other heavy metals cadmium, barium, lead, mercury, and some forms of radium.
    Ground water - comes from underground and does not come into contact with surface water and must be pumped mechanically for bottling.
    Mineral water - Contains less than 250 parts per million of dissolved solids.  Originate from underground water sources or springs.
    Natural-Spring water - Doesn't tell you where it came from, only that the mineral content of the water has not been altered.
    Sparkling water - Contains the same amount of carbon dioxide that it had at emergence from its water source.
    Steam-Distilled water - Distillation that involves vaporizing water by boiling it.  Steam rises and leaves behind most of the bacteria, viruses, chemicals, minerals and pollutants from the water.  

It is interesting to note that approximately 25% of bottled waters now sold come from the same water supplies that flow into some areas' household taps.  

Hopefully, this guide will help you as a consumer to stay more informed and make the best choices possible when it comes to you and your family.

Angela Hattaway is a Nutritionist and Personal Trainer with over 15 years experience. She got her BS in Nutrition and Dietetics from Stephen F. Austin State University and she also has a Master's Degree in Business with an emphasis on Healthcare. Angela is experienced in working with both children and adults and loves working with clients to help them set realistic goals and expectations. She is passionate about nutrition and fitness and feels this comes through when she works with people. Angela loves giving clients the tools, motivation and encouragement they need to be successful throughout their lives. Visit her blog at blog.ultimatenutritionnfitness.com. She can be reached via email at at foodjunkie@nutritionnfitenss.com.

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