Consumption of bottled water is increasing worldwide. Prior research shows many consumers believe bottled water is convenient and has better taste than tap water, despite reports of a number of water quality incidents with bottled water. The authors explore the demographic and social factors associated with bottled water users in the U.S. and the relationship between bottled water use and perceptions of the quality of local water supply. They find that U.S. consumers are more likely to report bottled water as their primary drinking water source when they perceive that drinking water is not safe. Furthermore, those who give lower ratings to the quality of their ground water are more likely to regularly purchase bottle water for drinking and use bottle water as their primary drinking water source.
Two key implications of our findings are that (1) public health officials and community leaders need to work to assure that public municipal drinking water supplies are safe; in addition, they should find effective ways to communicate to local residents the safety of their water supply; and (2) environmental leaders and activists need to campaign about the long lasting impacts of plastic water bottles. Further the public must be engaged in understanding the relationship of water quality to the capacity of local water systems to maintain safety and good taste standards. Consumer distrust of their groundwater quality should be leveraged to create community action to address legitimate concerns.
To read this research article, click: Bottled Water: United States Consumers and Their Perceptions of Water Quality