Bottled water is one of the largest industries in the world today. Studies show that more than half of Americans drink bottled water and spend more on bottled water.
Bottled water is the most profitable business today, the fastest growing multi-billion dollar segment in the entire beverage industry. However, research shows that most of Hawaiis bottled water also comes from city sources and is purified before being bottled.
Bottled water can undergo many forms of purification. The most popular treatment is distillation, which turns water into steam so that minerals too heavy to evaporate are left behind before the vapor condenses back into the water. Reverse osmosis, where water is forced through a membrane to remove minerals, and absolute 1-micron filtration, where water is passed through a filter to remove particles larger than one micron, are also popular treatments. The treatment used by almost all packaging companies is ozone, which is when ozone gas is passed through the water for disinfection.
Bottled water is 240 to 10,000 times more expensive than tap water, but is still very popular because it is considered relatively safer and of higher quality than tap water. Expensive imported water sold in smaller bottles is even more expensive. However, the fear of polluted city water forces many low-income families to opt for bottled water. Additionally, many people drink bottled water as a healthy alternative to soft drinks and alcohol.
The bottled water industry drives sales and often advertises that bottled water is clean or completely free of contamination. Bottled water also does not contain chlorine or other harmful chemicals. However, this is only the case when bottled water is actually drawn from a well or spring and is not just advertised as such.