Abstract

We described sociodemographic differences in perceptions of drinking water safety and examined associations between perceptions and plain water intake. We used the 2015 Estilos survey of 1,000 US Hispanic adults conducted in both Spanish and English. Outcome was water intake. Exposures were the level of agreement about water perceptions (My tap water is safe to drink; Community tap water is safe to drink; Bottled water is safer; I would buy less bottled water if my tap water was safe). Covariates were sociodemographics, region, Hispanic heritage, and acculturation. We used chi-square tests and multinomial logistic regression to examine associations of water perceptions and intake. Overall, 24% of Hispanic adults consumed water ≤1 time/day. Although 34% disagreed their home tap water was safe to drink, and 41% disagreed their community tap water was safe to drink, 65% agreed bottled water is safer than tap water, and 69% agreed they would buy less bottled water if they knew their tap water was safe. Perceptions differed by some covariates but were not significantly associated with plain water intake. Negative perceptions of tap water were common among US Hispanic adults, which can inform efforts to increase awareness about safe public water systems.

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