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Charles E. Ophardt, Professor of Chemistry, Elmhurst College, Elmhurst, IL 60126, charleso@elmhurst.edu, Copyright 2004
 
On-Line Discussion of Environmental Issues

ISSUE 5A

WHICH TYPE OF WATER IS THE SAFEST TO DRINK?
MUNICIPAL TAP WATER OR BOTTLED WATER

You may self select the type of water that you feel is the safest to drink.

Various members of the class and the professor contribute to the discussion. Please read these postings before you make a contribution to this ongoing discussion. You may add new information for this discussion, make further comments on information already posted, or ask questions to other students or the professor about the information already posted. Answers to THREE Rounds of Discussion are required. This may be done all at once or you may wait for more of the discussion in Round 1 to be completed before giving your final answer to the question in Round 2.


Round 1 Discussion: (2 points): One question from sub questions in 1-5 - You will be assigned to answer one of these questions to ensure complete topic coverage. See the Questions below for the student assignments.
Round 2 Discussion: (6 points) Main debate question (Ques. 7)
Round 3 Discussion: (2 points):One follow up response to another student.
 
Extra Credit: If you make a second response or a rebuttal, you can get up to one point of extra credit. Please label this second response as extra credit.

More details about the Discussion Format.

Please read the discussion responses before you decide which questions to answer. Try to answer questions that no one else has answered or respond to answers already present.

Check out the discussion responses on the
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Write out answers to questions in a WORD PROCESSOR
and then copy and paste into
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GENERAL QUESTIONS - Issue 5A

Use the following questions to briefly summarize the critical thinking necessary to solve the problem.

QUES. 1. Identify the major technologies used and science concepts and principles which are applied to the technologies in this issue.Definitions: Technology is the application of scientific knowledge in the creation of new products and processes. Science is the knowledge gathered about the natural world through observations and controlled experimentation.

 Research the Answer to Questions
 

Ques. 1a: Describe the methods of obtaining municipal tap water. Use Chicago, New Orleans, and Scottsdale, Arizona as examples. Each student can describe one method.
 Std. ID. 10, 19, 28
Ques. 1b: Describe various methods of obtaining various types of bottled waters. Each student can describe one method.  Std. ID. 1, 20,
Ques. 1c: Describe how to obtain filtered water from your tap at home.  Std. ID. 2, 11

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QUES. 2. Identify the issues, questions, limitations or drawbacks involved with the technology, especially environmental effects. Definition: Application of technology is called into question when the quality of life and/or the environment deteriorates.

 Research the Answer to Questions
 
Ques. 2a: What are the objections and health issues to using municipal tap water?  Std. ID. 4, 13
Ques. 2b: Which type of water is more regulated by the government? Differences in regulation?  Std. ID. 22, 5

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QUES. 3.
For the issues and questions above, list/explain the science concepts and cause and effect relationships involved; and/or identify the use of the scientific method (Hypothesis? Experiments? Results and Conclusions?) to prove or disprove any of the questions or hypotheses.

 Research the Answer to Questions
 
Ques. 3a: Why is water chlorinated? Should you actually feel safer if you taste a little bit of the chlorine in the water?  Std. ID. 14, 23
Ques. 3b: List some of the contaminants that may be found in water and possible health effects.  Std. ID. 6, 15
Ques. 3c: What standards or regulations apply to labeling bottled water as from springs or mountain streams ETC.?  Std. ID. 24, 7
Ques. 3d: What are some problems associated with possible bacteria or contaminants in bottled waters?  Std. ID 16, 25

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QUES. 4. Identify the limitations or uncertainties of the science in understanding and/or solving the problem.

Definition: Science is more limited in its ability to deal with systems with complex interactions because it can effectively study only a small number of variables and is incapable of controlling all of the variables. The "answers" provided by science may not be proven beyond a shadow of a doubt.

 Research the Answer to Questions
 
Ques. 4a: What are the uncertainties about the health effects of very tiny concentrations of chemicals that may be found in the water?  Std. ID. 8, 26
Ques. 4b: Do you feel that municipal water supplies are adequately tested to assure that no harmful chemicals are present?  Std. ID. 17, 21, 27

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QUES. 5. Identify the social, philosophical, and/or ethical issues.

Definition: Social issues relate to the general welfare of society. Philosophical issues relate to the principles and values for the conduct of life. Ethical issues are concerned with morals (distinction between right and wrong) and values (the ultimate worth of actions or "things").

 Research the Answer to Questions
 
Ques. 5a: Is it ethical for grocery store to have a bottled water dispenser that is hooked up to the municipal tap, but is probably filtered further, but comes with a nice price tag?  Std. ID. 9, 3, 29
Ques. 5b: Is it ethical for a bottled water to be labeled as from a mountain spring source, but is actually not from a spring, but a stream or lake that is the same source of water for the local town?  Std. ID. 18, 12, 30

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QUES. 6. Identify any questions, comments, or "eye opening" new ideas related to this issue.
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Research the Answer to Questions
 

QUES. 7: WHICH TYPE OF WATER IS THE SAFEST TO DRINK? MUNICIPAL TAP WATER OR BOTTLED WATER?

You may self select the type of water that you feel is the safest to drink.

As an individual citizen or as a group, what course of action would you take regarding the main issue question? Interpret available information and data to formulate a solution and a plan of action.

 ALL STUDENTS

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