TDS Bottled Water Test


In Peru, the expensive bottled water shipped halfway around the world can be found in the big chain grocery stores. Water like Fiji, and Evian for around $5.00 a bottle.  In this test, I used the most common bottled water found in Peru, where 99% of the locals shop in the markets, mom and pop bodega’s, and roadside stands.

The results from the (TDS) Total Dissolved Solids test are as follows:

  • Agua del Grifo (Tap Water): 278
  • Cielo: 257
  • Vida:371
  • San Mateo: 352
  • San Luis: 041    

What is TDS?

Total Dissolved Solids can be heavy metals such as, lead, copper, mercury, arsenic, and cadmium.  It can also be salts in the form of potassium, calcium, sodium, and magnesium.  It is measured in PPM or Parts Per Million.

An elevated TDS can result in your drinking water having a bitter or salty taste; and result in incrustations and films in the water.

San Mateo Water is technically in a different class in the bottled waters as it is a Mineral Water.  It has been bottled by the Backus Company since 1936, about 100km from Lima, from natural sources at over 3,300 meters in Huanchar, in San Mateo town in the central highlands province of Huarochir.  The minerals listed on the bottle: Calcium 90mg, Magnesium 11mg, Sodium 32mg and Potassium 6mg are what give the water an elevated TDS reading.

San Luis Water bottled by Coca-Cola, has the best score out of the other three bottled waters. It is purified by reverse osmosis, and then a little sodium is added for taste.  The score of 041 is fairly consistent with the Dansana brand in the United States.

As for Cielo and Vida, wow, the scores should speak for themselves.  Might as well save your cash and boil some tap water.

If you are traveling in Peru, I would recommend boiling tap water, or use purification filters such as the Life Straw for trecking, The TDS meter works on fresh water and can give a good idea of how clean a water source is. My meter was included when I tried Zero Water in the U.S. The filters do work as advertised, but only last so many gallons. The cleaner the water is to begin with the longer it will last.  Also, for home use for high quality H2O, Propure and Berkey water filtration systems are supposed to be good.  If you are the DIY Do It Yourself type, view the video below to build your own system.

  1 comment for “TDS Bottled Water Test

  1. Emilia
    December 1, 2015 at 7:25 PM

    Hi! Thanks so much for posting this. I’ve been struggling a lot with the water issue here in Lima, do not know which bottled water brand to trust. I couldn’t seem to decide between San Mateo and San Luis. The latter, they say, is treated water from the Rimac River, one of the most polluted in South America. I am not sure how good the RO method is in removing things like arsenic. Are you sure Coca Cola uses RO? Regarding San Mateo, do you know how pure is the source and if there is any mining or other industrial activity in the area (or beyond) that might be contaminating the water? Berkey filters claim they remove most heavy metals and arsenic – will investigate if one can find them in Lima.

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