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Is Great Value Water Bad For You?

Also Known As: Great Value brand water, bottled water



Short answer

Great Value bottled water, sourced mainly from municipal supplies, undergoes reverse osmosis, UV light treatment, and carbon filtration. It's safe, regulated by the FDA and EPA, but the purification process can strip away beneficial minerals. Consider the environmental impact of bottling and opt for BPA-free plastics to reduce chemical exposure.



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Long answer

Quality Assessment: Understanding Water Source and Filtration Process

When it comes to bottled water, the perceived quality often comes down to two critical factors: the source of the water and the process by which it is filtered. Since these elements significantly influence the purity, taste, and overall healthiness of the water, they are worth exploring in depth.

Water Source

Great Value water is a private label brand sold by Walmart, and while the exact sources can vary, it is often sourced from municipal supplies. This means the water generally starts as tap water, which may be a surprise to some consumers who assume all bottled water comes from pristine mountain springs or natural underground aquifers. Though the source is municipal, this does not necessarily imply inferior quality. The Safe Drinking Water Act regulates public water systems, ensuring that the water meets acceptable safety standards set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Filtration Process

  • Reverse Osmosis: Great Value water typically undergoes reverse osmosis, a rigorous filtration method that removes impurities by passing water through a semi-permeable membrane. Studies suggest that reverse osmosis can effectively remove contaminants such as bacteria, pesticides, and heavy metals.
  • Ultraviolet Light Treatment: In some cases, the water may be treated with ultraviolet (UV) light, a method that uses UV rays to disinfect water by destroying harmful microorganisms' DNA. The World Health Organization (WHO) acknowledges UV treatment as a safe and effective means for water purification.
  • Carbon Filtration: Another process Great Value water might undergo is carbon filtration, where activated carbon filters out organic compounds and chlorine, both of which can affect the taste and odor of the water.

The combination of these processes signifies that Great Value water is generally stripped of both beneficial and harmful constituents found in tap water. While this provides a level of assurance about the elimination of contaminants, it also means that naturally occurring minerals that are beneficial to health could be removed in the process. The mineral content in water can play a role in its overall health benefits, contributing to daily intake of essential minerals such as calcium and magnesium.

It's noteworthy that Great Value water, like all bottled water sold in the United States, is subject to regulation by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA standards for bottled water must be as protective of public health as EPA standards for tap water. However, as with any product, variations in the filtration process and source integrity can occur.

To fully assess the quality of Great Value water, requesting a water quality report, also known as a Consumer Confidence Report (CCR), from the manufacturer can be helpful. Such reports typically provide detailed information on the water source, filtration process, and any contaminants that have been measured in the water.

In conclusion, while the source and filtration methods used for Great Value water are common and regulated, individual preferences regarding mineral content and the origin of drinking water might sway consumers towards other brands or filtration systems.

Bottled Water Regulations and Great Value Compliance

Bottled water is regulated to ensure safety and quality for consumers. In the United States, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sets standards for tap water, while the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has jurisdiction over bottled water. This alignment ensures that the bottled water industry provides products that are at least as protective of public health as tap water. It's important to dissect how Great Value Water, a private label brand sold by Walmart, aligns with these regulations.

The FDA regulations for bottled water must comply with several standards, including:

  • Standard of Identity - which defines different types of bottled water such as spring water, mineral water, and purified water
  • Standard of Quality - establishing allowable levels of contaminants
  • Current Good Manufacturing Practices (CGMP) - ensuring water is produced safely and under sanitary conditions

The FDA also mandates that bottled water facilities undergo regular inspections and product testing, much like any other food processors, to ensure compliance with the CGMP and quality standards. Reports indicate that Great Value Water, bottled by various suppliers for Walmart, adheres to these standards.

It's worth mentioning that Great Value Water is often labeled as purified water, which means it has undergone purification processes such as reverse osmosis, distillation, or deionization. The label "purified water" dictates that the water has to meet the FDA's purified water standards, which stipulate the water must have impurities reduced to such a level that they are no longer detectable.

To provide specific insights into Great Value's compliance, independent tests and analyses have been conducted. For example, a study by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) looked at bottled water brands, providing insights into the presence of contaminants and the effectiveness of the purification process. Such studies, although variable in outcomes, commonly suggest that Great Value Water meets, if not exceeds, the required federal standards for contaminants.

In addition to FDA regulations, Great Value also asserts compliance with the International Bottled Water Association (IBWA) guidelines, which include more stringent quality standards and frequent unannounced inspections. Adherence to IBWA standards is voluntary and suggests an additional layer of commitment to product safety and quality.

Summarizing the essentials of bottled water regulation and Great Value's compliance:

Regulatory Aspect Description Great Value Compliance
FDA Regulations Mandatory standards and practices ensuring bottled water is safe for consumption and of high quality. Meets federal standards, with purification claims verified.
CGMP Compliance Ensuring production is safe, sanitary, and follows approved processes. Reported compliance based on facility inspections and certifications.
IBWA Membership Voluntary adherence to more rigorous quality criteria set by the bottled water industry. Complies with IBWA's inspection and quality guideline.

Furthermore, it should be highlighted that Great Value Water, like all bottled water, is subject to recall if any compliance issues arise. Monitoring of such events is crucial to assess ongoing commitment to safety and quality standards.

It is imperative for consumers to recognize that while regulations are thorough, individual preferences for taste and trust in different water sources may influence choices in water consumption. However, from a strict regulatory and compliance standpoint, Great Value Water does not pose a health risk and adheres to the necessary bottled water regulations to ensure its safety for consumer intake.

By staying informed about these regulations and Great Value's compliance, consumers can make more educated decisions about their bottled water consumption, leading to better health outcomes and peace of mind.

Chemical Contamination: BPA and Phthalates in Plastic Bottles

When assessing the safety of bottled water, it is essential to consider not only the water itself but also the materials used in packaging. Plastic bottles, like those used for Great Value Water, often come under scrutiny due to potential chemical contaminants such as Bisphenol A (BPA) and phthalates. Here, we delve into these chemicals, their potential health impacts, and the applicability to bottled water safety.

Bisphenol A (BPA) is an industrial chemical that has been used since the 1960s in the production of certain plastics and resins. These plastics are commonly used in containers that store food and beverages, such as water bottles. The primary concern with BPA is its estrogen-like activity, which can potentially lead to adverse health effects. Research has linked BPA exposure to a variety of health issues including endocrine disorders, infertility, and certain types of cancer.

  • A study by Vandenberg et al., addressed in the journal Endocrine Disruptors, highlighted concerns over BPA exposure even at low doses. [Reference: Vandenberg LN, Colborn T, Hayes TB, et al. Hormones and endocrine-disrupting chemicals: low-dose effects and nonmonotonic dose responses. Endocrine Disruptors. 2013;1(1):e26866.]
  • The FDA, which regulates bottled water, states that BPA is safe at the very low levels that occur in some foods and, by extension, bottled water. However, societal and scientific pressure has led to increased demand for BPA-free products.

Phthalates, another group of chemicals used to make plastics more flexible, can also be found in packaging materials. Phthalates may leach into water from the plastic, particularly when bottles are exposed to heat or sit on shelves for prolonged periods. Phthalates are endocrine disruptors as well, and their presence in bottled water could pose health risks similar to BPA, including impacts on reproductive health and development.

  • A notable study by Meeker et al., published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, underscored the association between phthalate exposure and adverse reproductive outcomes in men. [Reference: Meeker JD, Sathyanarayana S, Swan SH. Phthalates and other additives in plastics: human exposure and associated health outcomes. Environmental Health Perspectives. 2009;117(7):A278-A284.]
  • Due to the potential risks, the European Union and some other regulatory bodies have restricted the use of particular phthalates in children's toys and food contact materials.

In response to consumer concerns, many water bottle companies, including the Great Value brand, have shifted to using BPA-free plastic bottles. This transition is aimed at reducing the risk of chemical leaching and providing a safer product. However, it's important to note that 'BPA-free' does not automatically mean a product is free from all estrogenic activity. Alternatives to BPA in plastics, such as bisphenol S (BPS) and bisphenol F (BPF), may still pose similar health concerns, as evidenced by Rochester and Bolden's article in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives. [Reference: Rochester JR, Bolden AL. Bisphenol S and F: A Systematic Review and Comparison of the Hormonal Activity of Bisphenol A Substitutes. Environmental Health Perspectives. 2015;123(7):643-650.]

To minimize the risk of chemical contamination from plastic bottles, consumers can take several precautionary measures:

  • Avoid exposing plastic bottles to high temperatures, such as leaving them in a car on a sunny day.
  • Do not use plastic bottles past their expiration date as the likelihood of chemical leaching increases over time.
  • Consider alternatives to plastic, such as glass or stainless steel water bottles, especially for repeated use.

Ultimately, the safety of bottled water from potential chemical contamination is incumbent upon safe manufacturing practices, responsible packaging, and informed consumer use. Staying abreast of current research and regulatory shifts is essential for making educated decisions about bottled water consumption.

Analysis of Great Value Water's Mineral Content and Additives

When considering the quality of bottled water, it's essential to examine both its mineral content and any additives that may be present. Let's dissect these components in relation to Great Value brand water.

Mineral Content

Great Value water is purified and may have minerals added for taste. Common minerals found in purified bottled water include calcium chloride, magnesium sulfate, and potassium bicarbonate. These are generally recognized as safe (GRAS) by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and serve to enhance flavor and restore elements that can be lost during the water purification process. It's worth noting that the mineral content in Great Value water is likely to be low and should not be relied upon as a significant source of daily mineral intake.


Great Value water may contain a few additives that serve specific purposes:

  • Disinfectants: Chloramines or chlorine may be used to eliminate pathogens. While effective for disinfection, these can leave residual tastes and have been the subject of debate over their long-term health effects in drinking water.
  • Fluoride: Some bottled waters, such as those meant for infant consumption, may have fluoride added. The addition of fluoride to drinking water is a contentious issue, with supporters advocating for reduced dental caries and opponents raising concerns about possible health risks at higher exposures.
  • pH Adjusters: Additives like sodium bicarbonate can be used to adjust the pH of water to make it more alkaline. The health benefits of alkaline water are not conclusively proven, and most bodies maintain a stable pH regardless of the pH level of consumed water.

Regular consumption of any bottled water should be done with an awareness of its contents. It's advisable to read the label for specifics on mineral content and additives. Those with sensitivities to certain additives or with specific dietary restrictions should be especially vigilant.

Additional concerns related to bottled water include the potential for chemicals from plastic bottles to leach into the water. While Great Value water bottles are probably made from food-grade plastic intended to be safe, high temperatures during shipping or storage could increase the risk of leaching.

Expert Opinions

Nutritionists and food safety experts recommend looking for bottled water that meets the standards set by the International Bottled Water Association (IBWA) and is transparent about its testing and quality assurance processes. In addition, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulates public drinking water, while the FDA regulates bottled water. Hence, Great Value water is subject to federal guidelines to ensure its safety.

Lastly, while bottled water can be convenient, it's essential to balance this with environmental considerations, as plastic bottles generate significant waste. Thus, examining Great Value water or any similar product goes beyond individual health implications to broader environmental impacts of bottled water consumption.

Environmental Impact of Bottled Water Brands like Great Value

When considering the health implications of bottled water, it's also essential to discuss the environmental footprint it leaves behind. The production, transportation, and disposal of bottled water like that of Great Value have a significant impact on the environment.

Production: The manufacturing of plastic bottles requires substantial amounts of fossil fuels and water. For instance, producing the plastic for one bottle of Great Value water typically uses thrice the amount of water the bottle can hold. Additionally, chemical byproducts from plastic production may contribute to pollution and the release of greenhouse gases.

Transportation: Bottled water brands often ship their products over long distances, from bottling plants to distribution centers, stores, and ultimately to consumers' homes. This transport relies heavily on fossil fuels, contributing to carbon emissions and playing a role in climate change.

Disposal: Plastic bottles can add to the global issue of waste. Although many plastic water bottles, including those sold under the Great Value brand, are recyclable, studies reveal that only a fraction are actually recycled. For example, a report by the American Chemical Society found that less than 30% of plastic bottles are recycled in the U.S. This discrepancy leads to more plastic ending up in landfills, or worse, in natural habitats like oceans, where they can harm wildlife and disrupt ecosystems.

Biodegradability: Most plastic bottles, including those used for Great Value water, are made from PET (polyethylene terephthalate), which is not biodegradable. This means that the bottles can linger in the environment for hundreds of years. They eventually break down into microplastics, posing risks to aquatic and terrestrial life and potentially entering the food chain.

Resource Depletion: The extraction of water itself can also be an environmental concern. Source depletion occurs when bottled water companies like Great Value tap into underground aquifers or water sources at a rate faster than natural replenishment. This practice can lead to reduced water levels, affecting nearby ecosystems and community water supplies.

To illuminate the issue, a study by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) highlights that the sourcing and production of bottled water are not always sustainable. The organization stresses the importance of regulations to ensure that water extraction does not compromise local ecosystems or community water needs.

By making informed decisions about our consumption of bottled water, consumers can help alleviate the environmental toll. Addressing the ecological concerns requires awareness of the lifecycle of products like Great Value water—from the tap or aquifer to the recycling bin, or, all too often, the environment.

Frequently asked questions

Purified bottled water, such as Great Value, may have reduced mineral content due to filtration processes like reverse osmosis. While it might contribute to daily mineral intake, it should not be solely relied on for minerals. A balanced diet is necessary to meet your mineral needs, and for those concerned, mineral supplements or mineral-rich water brands are available.

To ensure Great Value bottled water is free from contaminants, check the bottle label for purification details, request the Consumer Confidence Report (CCR) from Walmart, and look for compliance seals from the FDA or the International Bottled Water Association (IBWA) which may indicate higher standards and frequent testing.

If you're worried about the plastic in Great Value water bottles, look for recycling codes to ensure it is BPA-free, avoid exposing it to high heat which can increase leaching, and consider using alternatives like glass or stainless steel bottles. Additionally, contacting Walmart for their latest packaging materials information can provide peace of mind.

To reduce the environmental impact of consuming bottled water like Great Value, you can recycle bottles properly, support brands that use recycled materials, opt for larger containers to minimize plastic use, and, where possible, choose tap water or refillable bottles to decrease dependency on single-use plastics.

Ask a question about Great Value Water and our team will publish the answer as soon as possible.

Possible long-term side effects

  • exposure to chemical contaminants
  • waste accumulation
  • resource depletion

Ingredients to be aware of


  • effective removal of contaminants
  • compliance with safety standards
  • possible mineral supplementation

Healthier alternatives

  • glass or stainless steel bottles
  • tap water with home filtration

Our Wellness Pick (what is this?)

Essentia Alkaline Water

  • 99.9% purity level
  • Ionized & alkaline
  • Infused with electrolytes
  • pH 9.5 or higher
  • Clean, smooth taste
Learn More!

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by Diane Saleem
Published on: 12-12-2023

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by Diane Saleem
Published on: 12-12-2023

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