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All-Natural Water Isn't Safer Than the Treated Kind

Many fans of "raw," or untreated, water believe they're getting probiotics and minerals that could otherwise be strained out during processing. But they could be consuming any number of less desirable things, too. Public drinking water must meet Environmental Protection Agency standards, so most of it is treated and filtered to remove at least 88 contaminants, according to the EPA. "The filtering process removes parasites like giardia and cryptosporidium, both of which come from the stool of infected animals and humans," says Kathy Benedict, PhD, an epidemiologist with the CDC's Waterborne Disease Prevention Branch. There's no guarantee that water you collect from a spring is 100 percent safe. As for the brands of raw water available online or in stores, to be approved for sale they must meet FDA quality guidelines. But some of these beverages come from the same source as tap water—just with a significantly higher price tag (for example, $16 for two and a half gallons).