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Bottled Water : Home

This libguide is a collaborative project between Wisconsin's Water Library and the UW-Madison Chemistry Library.

About this Guide

What's in my water bottle?

Have you ever wondered:

  • How do I learn more about where it comes from
  • Even if it tastes good, is it good for me?
  • Are there any contaminants in my bottle?
  • Who is in charge of making sure it is clean and safe for me to drink?
  • What is the effect of bottled water on our environment?
  • Is bottled water tested to make sure it's safe?
  • Are there economic costs to producing and selling water?
  • What is bisphenol-A (BPA)?

We hope this guide will help you find such information using books, journals, Web sites, and more.


The US Food and Drug Administration classifies bottled water according to its origin:

  • Artesian well water: Water from a well that taps an aquifer--layers of porous rock, sand and earth, usually deep under ground, that contain water.
  • Mineral water: Water from an underground source that contains at least 250 parts per million total dissolved solids.
  • Spring water:  Derived from an underground formation from which water flows naturally to the earth's surface.
  • Well water: Water from a hole bored or drilled into the ground, which taps into an aquifer.
  • Purified water: Water that is produced by distillation, deionization, reverse osmosis or other suitable processes and that meets the definition of "purified water" in the U.S. Pharmacopeia, 23d Revision, Jan. 1, 1995. As appropriate, also may be called "demineralized water," "deionized water," "distilled water," and "reverse osmosis water."
  • Sparkling bottled water: Water that, after treatment and possible replacement of carbon dioxide, contains the same amount of carbon dioxide that it had at emergence from the source.

For more information

Anne Moser
Wisconsin's Water Library
247 Goodnight Hall