Nineteen bottled water products were purchased from stores in Potsdam and Wappingers Falls, New York and analyzed for 71 inorganic elements by inductively coupled plasma – mass spectrometry (ICP-MS). The wide range in elemental concentrations observed suggests considerable variation in source water composition, processing, and treatment. Comparison with samples from a typical small municipal water system (Potsdam, New York) was made to evaluate the differences between bottled and municipal water and in many cases little difference is apparent. With the exception of one sample of tonic water and one mineral water, all bottled waters tested meet United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) primary standards for drinking water supplies. Ingestion of some of the waters could provide significant percentages of the reference daily intakes (RDI) of key trace elements. Knowledge of the inorganic chemistry of bottled water can help consumers select the brands best suited to their individual health needs or preferences.

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