In country blessed with some of the safest drinking water in the world, many people still prefer to pay for the bottled stuff. But according to researchers in Montreal, several popular brands actually contain more bacteria than the old-fashioned water that comes from a tap. The researchers won’t reveal which brands have “surprisingly high” levels of heterotrophic bacteria, but they did say that more than 70 per cent of the samples contained levels that failed to meet basic standards for medications and health-care products. “Despite having the cleanest tap water, a large number of urban Canadians are switching over to bottled water for their daily hydration requirements,” said Sonish Azam, one of the study’s authors. “The consumer assumes that since bottled water carries a price tag, it is purer and safer than most tap water.” Not true.