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Is Niagara Bottled Water Bad For You?



Short answer

Niagara Bottled Water undergoes stringent filtration and regulatory compliance, ensuring safety. However, potential risks from plastic bottles exist, including chemical leaching and microplastic contamination, which may impact health and environment. While better than some alternatives, reviewing quality reports and considering environmental consequences is advisable for an informed choice.



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Long answer

Quality and Source of Niagara Bottled Water

In assessing whether Niagara Bottled Water is bad for you, an important aspect to consider is the quality and source of the water. Let’s take a closer look at what we know about Niagara’s practices and standards in these areas.

Niagara Bottling, LLC claims that its water is sourced from both natural springs and municipal water supplies. When it comes from springs, the locations are often undisclosed for proprietary reasons, but the company assures that these sources undergo a rigorous selection process. Municipal water, also known as tap water, is treated and purified to meet the company's quality standards before being bottled.

To ensure safety and quality, Niagara Bottled Water goes through a multi-step filtration process that includes reverse osmosis and ozonation among other purification steps. The reverse osmosis process is particularly effective at removing impurities such as dissolved salts, lead, and other potentially harmful contaminants that could be present in the source water.

Once the water is sourced and treated, it’s subjected to strict quality control measures. Niagara Bottling adheres to the standards set forth by various regulatory bodies, including the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the International Bottled Water Association (IBWA). This means that their facilities must comply with Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) and that their products are routinely tested for a variety of quality indicators.

Research and studies into bottled water quality are extensive, although they tend to assess the category as a whole rather than focus on individual brands. For example, a study published in the journal Frontiers in Chemistry in 2018 highlighted concerns over microplastic contamination in various bottled water brands, although Niagara was not specifically named. This study emphasizes the need for consumers to consider the potential broader impacts of bottled water beyond immediate health concerns.

Consumers who are particularly sensitive to the quality of their water may want to consider the data provided in Niagara Bottled Water’s quality reports. These reports, often referred to as Consumer Confidence Reports, are mandated by the FDA and typically include information such as source, detected contaminants, and compliance with drinking water rules.

It is also important to note that individual perception and anecdotal reports on the taste and quality of Niagara Bottled Water can vary significantly. Some consumers may prefer the taste of mineral-rich spring water, while others may find the taste of purified municipal water more to their liking.

Ultimately, while Niagara Bottled Water is subject to industry regulation and internal quality control measures, consumers should review the available water quality reports and consider their own preferences and sensitivities when deciding whether this product is right for them.

Plastic Packaging: Health and Environmental Concerns

Bottled water, including Niagara, typically comes in plastic containers, which have raised both health and environmental concerns. Understanding these concerns helps consumers make informed choices.

Health Risks of Plastic Bottles

Plastic water bottles are often made from polyethylene terephthalate (PET), which is considered safe by the FDA for food and beverage use. However, studies have indicated potential health risks associated with the long-term storage of water in PET bottles. Substances such as antimony, a potential carcinogen, can leach into the water, especially when bottles are exposed to high temperatures.

  • Chemical Leaching: Chemicals from plastics, like BPA and phthalates, may seep into water. Although BPA-free bottles are common, other chemicals in plastics have not been studied as extensively.
  • Microplastics: Recent research has found microplastics in bottled water. The long-term health effects of ingesting microplastics are not yet fully understood, but early studies suggest it could be a concern.

Environmental Impact of Bottled Water

The production and disposal of plastic bottles generate significant environmental issues:

  • Resource Use: It takes three times the amount of water in a bottle of water to produce the bottle itself, leading to excessive water use.
  • Energy Consumption: The energy required to produce, transport, and refrigerate bottled water is substantial, contributing to climate change and air pollution.
  • Waste and Recycling: Millions of single-use plastic bottles end up in landfills or as litter every year. While PET bottles are recyclable, the recycling rate is significantly lower than the production rate.
  • Marine Pollution: Plastic waste that finds its way into the oceans can harm marine life through ingestion or entanglement.

Regarding Niagara and other bottled waters, the decision on their safety and environmental impact is multifaceted. Consumers concerned about these issues might consider alternatives such as filtered tap water and reusable water bottles.


  • A study published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology found that PET bottles can leach antimony (source).
  • Research from State University of New York in Fredonia revealed that 93% of bottled water samples showed signs of microplastics contamination (source).
  • The consequences of bottled water on resource and energy use have been highlighted by the Pacific Institute in a comprehensive report (source).

Contamination Risks in Bottled Water

Bottled water, including brands like Niagara, is generally perceived as a clean and safe alternative to tap water. However, it's important to acknowledge that there can be risks of contamination that consumers should be aware of. These risks stem from various sources, ranging from the bottling process itself to the plastic containers used for packaging.

Microplastic Contamination: A 2018 study published in Frontiers in Chemistry found that 93% of bottled water samples contained some form of microplastics. Although the health implications of microplastics are still being studied, there is concern about their presence in our drinking water. The World Health Organization is calling for further assessment on the potential risks of microplastic ingestion on human health.

Chemical Leaching from Plastic: The bottles used for packaging, especially those made of polyethylene terephthalate (PET), may leach chemicals like antimony and bisphenol A (BPA), particularly when stored at high temperatures. Exposure to these chemicals has raised health concerns, including potential endocrine disruption as indicated by a report from the Endocrine Society.

Contaminants in the Source Water: Sometimes, the source water itself may be contaminated with harmful substances. In 2015, the Environmental Working Group found that Niagara Bottling recalled 14 brands of water due to a possible E. coli contamination at one of its spring sources. It's important for bottled water companies to apply stringent filtration and testing practices to mitigate such incidents.

Bacterial Contamination During Bottling: Bottling facilities must adhere to strict hygiene standards to prevent bacterial contamination. However, breaches in these protocols can lead to contamination. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) oversees bottled water quality, yet regulation and enforcement may not always be consistent.

Storage and Transportation: How bottled water is stored and transported can also influence its purity. Excessive storage time or poor conditions, such as exposure to heat or direct sunlight, can compromise water quality and safety.

Ensuring the safety of bottled water often comes down to the policies and practices of the bottler, combined with effective regulation. Consumers looking to minimize risk should look for reputable brands that transparently share their water quality reports and adhere to good manufacturing practices. Additionally, considering alternatives such as filtered tap water could circumvent some of the risks associated with bottled water.

As with any topic that can affect health, it is vital to consider individual studies and expert opinions before drawing definitive conclusions about the safety of bottled water. Continuous research and informed consumer choices play pivotal roles in addressing the potential concerns surrounding bottled water consumption.

Comparing Niagara to Tap and Other Bottled Waters

When evaluating the quality and health implications of Niagara Bottled Water, it's essential to compare it to standard tap water and other bottled water brands. In doing so, we take into account several key factors including, sourcing, filtration processes, mineral content, presence of contaminants, taste, and environmental impact.

Source and Filtration Process:

Niagara Bottled Water is sourced from municipal supplies, and it is then filtered and treated to improve purity and taste. This often involves processes like reverse osmosis, ozone sterilization, and UV treatment. Similarly, tap water is treated at municipal treatment plants and may include chlorination, filtration, and additives to minimize pathogens. Other bottled waters may come from springs or artesian wells and can undergo a range of treatment processes based on the brand's quality protocols.

Mineral Content:

The mineral content in Niagara Bottled Water is relatively low, as the treatment process removes not only contaminants but also some beneficial minerals. Tap water, depending on the location, can contain varying levels of minerals like calcium and magnesium, which are good for health. Certain other bottled waters are marketed specifically for their naturally occurring mineral content and are sometimes labeled as "mineral water."

Presence of Contaminants:

While both Niagara Bottled Water and tap water adhere to the standards set by the EPA and FDA, there could be slight variations in the presence of contaminants like microplastics, heavy metals, or chemical residues. A study published in the journal "Frontiers in Chemistry" (2018) found that many major bottled water brands contained microplastics. As regulations are tighter for tap water, it is usually at par or sometimes surpasses bottled water in terms of safety from contaminants.


Taste can be subjective, but it's often a deciding factor for consumers. Niagara Bottled Water is generally favored for its neutral taste, owed to the extensive filtration it undergoes. In contrast, tap water taste can vary greatly by region due to differing mineral contents and treatment additives. Other bottled waters may taste differently based on their source and level of mineral content.

Environmental Impact:

The production and disposal of bottled waters, including Niagara, have a significant environmental impact. The use of plastics, transportation of goods, and the energy required in water treatment all contribute to a larger carbon footprint compared to tap water. While many bottled waters are now advocating for increased use of recycled plastics, tap water remains the more eco-friendly option.

In conclusion, while evaluating whether Niagara Bottled Water is bad for you, it is important to consider the quality of your local tap water and your preferences for taste and mineral content, as well as the broader environmental implications. Each source of water comes with its own set of pros and cons and understanding these can help consumers make informed decisions about their drinking water.

Frequently asked questions

Consumer Confidence Reports are mandated by the FDA and should provide transparent and accurate information on water source, detected contaminants, and compliance with drinking water standards. However, consumers should still exercise critical evaluation of these reports and cross-reference with independent studies when available.

The taste of purified bottled water such as Niagara is usually neutral because the filtration process removes many of the minerals and impurities. In contrast, mineral water retains its naturally occurring minerals, giving it a distinct taste that may range from slightly salty to sulfuric, depending on the specific mineral content.

Niagara Bottled Water is packaged in PET plastic, which is FDA-approved and free of BPA. Niagara ensures that their bottles meet safety standards; however, it is important to store bottled water properly, as heat can cause leaching of other chemical substances from any plastic containers.

Microplastics have been found in bottled water and their long-term health effects are not fully understood. Some concerns include potential disruption of the endocrine system and accumulation in the body. However, research is ongoing to determine the specific risks associated with microplastic ingestion.

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

Possible long-term side effects

  • chemical leaching
  • microplastic ingestion

Ingredients to be aware of

  • antimony
  • bpa
  • microplastics


  • convenient
  • purified
  • neutral taste

Healthier alternatives

  • filtered tap water
  • reusable bottles

Our Wellness Pick (what is this?)

Essentia Alkaline Water

  • 99.9% purity
  • pH of 9.5 or higher
  • BPA-free bottles
  • Phthalate-free
  • Consistent quality
Learn More!

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by Diane Saleem
Published on: 01-11-2024

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by Diane Saleem
Published on: 01-11-2024

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