On a federal level, bottled water is regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a food product to ensure bottled water product safety from production to packaging to consumption.
All bottled water products must comply with FDA’s Quality Standards listed in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) including:
- Standards of Quality
- Standards of Identity (such as labeling regulations and standardized terms)
- Good Manufacturing Practices (such as plant construction, sanitary facilities and process controls)
- The Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act of 2002 (such as maintaining records and registering bottling and operations/sales facilities with the FDA).
In addition to FDA’s extensive regulatory requirements, the bottled water industry is subject to state regulatory requirements as well.
A significant responsibility of the states is inspecting, sampling, analyzing and approving sources of water. Under the federal GMPs, only approved sources of water can be used to supply a bottling plant. Although regulations vary from state to state, in general they cover the following:
- State Labeling
- Laboratory Certification
- Quality Standards
- Bottling Plant Permits
- Water Sources
- Product Labeling
Another area in which some states have important responsibilities that complement federal regulation is the certification of testing laboratories. As with any food establishment, the states perform unannounced plant inspections, and some states perform annual inspections.
Bottled water companies that are members of the International Bottled Water Association (IBWA) must adhere to stringent industry standards. IBWA has established a quality assurance program, a strict set of standards called the Model Code of Practice. In some instances, the IBWA Model Code is stricter than FDA regulations.
The IBWA is also active at all levels of the local, state and federal government assisting in the development of such regulations. As a member of the IBWA, we must comply with the following standards:
- Annual, unannounced inspections by third-party auditors
- Audits of all areas of plant production
- Adherence to the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) Program
- Compliance audits of federal and state regulations and industry standards
Determining how much water you should drink each day depends upon your body type, health, how active you are and where you live. Consider the following*:
Age: Children get hotter than adults during exercise because they don’t sweat as much. The feeling of thirst actually lags behind water loss, so by the time children feel thirsty, they may already be dehydrated. For seniors, they may not recognize their own thirst signals.
Exercise: If you are active, you lose more water than if you are sedentary. In general, most doctors recommend a few extra cups of fluid for intense workout sessions. Plus, if the weather is exceptionally warm, increase your fluid intake even more.
Environment: Exposure to hot, humid or arid weather requires additional fluids too. During wintertime, your body’s increased efforts to regulate warmth and dryness from heated indoor air, both require additional fluid intake.
Illnesses or health conditions: Fever, vomiting and diarrhea cause your body to lose additional fluids that must be replaced. Certain infections also increase your fluid intake needs. On the other hand, other conditions such as heart failure, some types of kidney, liver and adrenal diseases may actually require reductions in your fluid intake.
Pregnancy and/or breast-feeding: As recommended by doctors, pregnant and/or breast-feeding women need additional fluids since large amounts of water are needed by the growing fetus and are lost during nursing.
Traveling: When traveling on an airplane, it is probably a good idea to drink eight ounces of water for every hour you are on board the plane. As you can see, your daily need for water can add up to quite a lot.
Other Beverages: Alcoholic beverages, and to some extent caffeinated beverages too, add to your daily water needs since both beverage types act as diuretics, meaning they encourage the body to lose more water faster than consumed.
* Note: It is possible to drink too much water
A condition known as hyponatremia (low sodium levels in the blood caused by too much water) has caused deaths. If you feel concerned about your fluid intake, or don’t know exactly how much you should be drinking each day, it is best to check with your doctor or a registered dietitian to help you determine the amount of water that is best for you. Keep in mind at least twenty percent or more of your body’s water needs will come from the foods you eat. The rest of your needs could be met from the beverages you drink.
Tips for Proper Hydration
Proper hydration does more than just keep your from getting thirsty. Hydration is the replacement of body fluids lost through sweating, exhaling and elimination. We need to replenish those fluids to avoid dehydration. It’s just as important to stay hydrated at the office, at home, and at the gym.
Mild dehyrdation can cause feelings of lost energy and general illness. If fluids are not replaced quickly, severe and even life-threatening dehydration can occur. This is especially true in the very young and the elderly.
Signs and symptoms of dehydration include the following:
Mild to excessive thirst
Dry mouth and/or dry skin
Dizziness, nausea, and/or headache
Darkened, little, or no urination
Increased body temperature
This article is not meant to diagnose, treat or cure any kind of a health problem. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Always consult with your health care provider about any kind of a health problem and especially before beginning any kind of exercise routine.
Sources: Spigt MG, Kuijper EC, Schayck CP, Troost J, Knipschild PG, Linssen VM, Knottnerus JA. “Increasing the daily water intake for the prophylactic treatment of headache: a pilot trial.” Eur J Neurol. 2005 Sep;12(9):715-8. Armstrong LE, Pumerantz AC, Roti MW, Judelson DA, Watson G, Dias JC, Sokmen B, Casa DJ, Maresh CM, Lieberman H, Kellogg M. “Fluid, electrolyte, and renal indices of hydration during 11 days of controlled caffeine consumption.” Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2005 Jun;15(3):252-65. Mayo Clinic (2006)