In a recent John Stossel 20/20 story called "Too Good to be True" about bottled water, John Stossel concludes that bottled water tastes WORSE than tap water and that there no difference in the waters in terms of their impact on your health.
While I agree that there is no difference between bottled and tap water in terms of the impact on health, I disagree with the metric John Stossel used for the conclusion. All he did was to compare the amount of E. coli in each of the bottled water and tap water sample (conducted by Dr. Aaron Margolin of the University of New Hampshire). I say "no duh!" Tap water contains fluoride and trace amounts of chlorine which keep the water clear of microorganisms.
Now, about taste. Here's the results that John Stossel came up with in a misguided small sample size taste test:
1. American Fare (Kmart water)
3. Iceland Spring (tie)
3. New York City tap water (tie)
5. Poland Spring
I'd have to say that Stossel's conclusions are meaningless because (1) Each taste tester tried all 6 types where heaver brands (more acidic or alkalinic) can DISTORT the taste of the more pure-tasting brands; and (2) Stossel doesn't mention the magnitude of differences between the brands (are the differences significant?).
In either case, I think the ranking of the water brands puts the best tasting and purest tasting brands at the bottom (Evian and Poland Spring).
However, Stossel did raise one important point -- 25% of bottled water is merely reprocessed tap water. He also says that one of the ingredients of Aquafina is water from the Detroit River. Yuck, no wonder I've always thought Aquafina was disgusting.