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bottledwater_isle.jpg (14330 bytes)Is Bottled Water The Right Choice?

Companies that market bottled water as being safer than tap water are defrauding the American public. - The U.S. FDA

Bottled water has become a multi-billion dollar business... now the fastest growing segment of the entire beverage industry... and the most profitable of all beverages.   Even companies like Coca-Cola and Pepsi are getting in on the action with their bottled water products, Danasi and Aquafina which is filtered tap water.

Millions and millions of dollars are spent each week on advertising campaigns to give consumers the perception that bottled water comes from some pristine mountain spring or magical underground aquifer. The truth is that bottled water is often little more than tap water in a bottle.

The Federal regulations that govern bottled water only apply if it is transported across state lines, and then only require it to be "as good as" tap water. Most bottled water is bottled and sold within the same state to avoid regulations. There are no assurances or requirements that bottled water is of any higher quality than tap water.

In March of 1999‚ the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) released a report called "Bottled Water‚ Pure Drink or Pure Hype?" NRDC‘s report points out that as much as 40% of all bottled water comes from a city water system‚ just like tap water. The report also focuses on the fact that 60 to 70% of all bottled water is exempt from FDA‘s bottled water standards‚ because it is bottled and sold within the same state. Unless the water is transported across state lines‚ there are no federal regulations that govern its quality. According to the NRDC‚ "bottled water companies have used this loophole to avoid complying with basic health standards‚ such as those that apply to municipally treated tap water." Also‚ all carbonated or sparkling waters are completely exempt from FDA guidelines that set specific contamination limits.

According to the NRDC study‚ "even when bottled waters are covered by FDA‘s specific bottled water standards‚ those rules are weaker in many ways than EPA rules that apply to big city tap water." For instance‚ if we compare EPA regulations for tap water to FDA‘s bottled water rules: (these examples are quotes from the NRDC report)

  • City tap water can have no confirmed E.coli or fecal coliform bacteria. FDA bottled water rules include no such prohibition (a certain amount of any type of coliform bacteria is allowed in bottled water).
  • City tap water‚ from surface water‚ must be filtered and disinfected. In contrast‚ there are no federal filtration or disinfection requirements for bottled water.
  • Most cities using surface water have had to test for Cryptosporidium or Giardia‚ two common water pathogens‚ that can cause diarrhea and other intestinal problems‚ yet bottled water companies do not have to do this.
  • City tap water must meet standards for certain important toxic or cancer-causing chemicals‚ such as phthalate (a chemical that can leach from plastic‚ including plastic bottles); some in the industry persuaded FDA to exempt bottled water from the regulations regarding these chemicals.
  • City water systems must issue annual "right to know" reports‚ telling consumers what is in their water. Bottlers successfully killed a "right to know" requirement for bottled water.

The Natural Resources Defense Council report concluded that; "Therefore‚ while much tap water is indeed risky‚ having compared available data‚ we conclude that there is no assurance that bottled water is any safer than tap water."

The reality of bottled water is that people pay from $1 to $4 a gallon for the perception of higher quality‚ when in fact‚ the quality of bottled water is at best "unknown"!

In addition, most bottled water is sold in plastic water bottles.   Plastic is a non-renewable resource, its manufacture is energy- and resource-intensive, and in many cases highly toxic.  Ever taste the plastic taste in bottled water??   Plastic does not biodegrade. Polyvinyl-chloride manufacturing releases dioxins, as does the incineration of said PVC. Plastic used in food applications can get worn and torn and eventually harbor bacteria. Plastics recycling is also known as "downcycling," because each reiteration of your original bottle is of lower quality than the next, until at last the landfill beckons.

A humorous, but insightful quote, from a national radio personality went;

"Throughout the years man has come up with many ways to measure things.
Noah used cubits to measure the Arc.
We use carats to measure gemstones.
We use lbs. to measure our weight.
We use inches, feet and yards to measure distance.
And to measure the intelligence of consumers... they put water in plastic bottles... to see who would buy it."

Point-of-Use water treatment‚ with a quality in home water filtration system‚ is by far the most economical‚ the most convenient and the most effective way of producing healthy, great tasting water. Filtering out the chlorine‚ lead and other contaminants with a quality home water filtration system‚ at the point of use‚ just prior to consumption‚ is the only way to know for sure about the quality of your water.

The Aquasana Drinking Water Filter provides water that is higher in quality than any bottled water‚ for only 9 cents a gallon.

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