Cynthia Boyd recently reported on Minnpost about a poll finding that bottled water consumption by children varies by race. In fact, the poll found that black and Hispanic parents were 3X more likely to serve their children bottled water rather than tap.
The poll took a look at why this may be happening:
Reasons cited for downing the bottled stuff included believing that it’s safer, cleaner, better-tasting as well as more convenient.
That makes me wonder: how can the exact same water coming from the exact same water treatment plant be trusted so differently by different groups of people?
Boyd points out that the surveyed parents had a large income disparity by race, with white parents bringing home more than twice the income of surveyed minority parents:
For me, those socioeconomic comparisons stand out like blinking neon signs on a moonless desert night. Whites in the survey are better educated and better off financially, thus likely to live in better neighborhoods and healthier housing.
I think Boyd is onto something there. Although I don’t think it’s a question of the health of the water by location. For example, I’m confident that the water that comes out of my home’s taps in Longfellow is the exact same water that comes out of taps in the Hawthorne Neighborhood of North Minneapolis. Both areas of town have similar ages of housing stock, so the plumbing likely isn’t all that much different.
However, there is likely one factor that is significantly different: the age and quality of faucet the water is dispensed from.
I’m willing to bet that a kid is more likely to drink water that has been dispensed from a newer faucet than an older one.
I’m also willing to bet that a kid is more likely to drink cool tap water dispensed from a refrigerator.
Heck, I do the same thing within my own home. I drink water from my kitchen tap, the tap in my bedroom’s bathroom, but would never consider drinking from the tap in the basement workshop. It’s exactly the same water. I know this. But it doesn’t seem as drinkable when it’s dispensed out of a hose into a plastic tub sink. Obviously, few people have workshop sinks as their primary water source, but I do think the last foot of tap water delivery likely plays a roll in tap water consumption rates.
Could upgrading a kitchen faucet or sink increase tap water consumption, thus saving families money while simultaneously improving the quality of the water they consume? I think that could be worth studying.