Bottled Water and the Environment
Each day throughout the world, millions of plastic bottles from bottled water are produced and disposed of, wasting natural resources and causing further contamination of our planet.Have you been to a nature spot on the planet in the past 20 years where you havenâ€™t found some discarded water bottle or other packaging? Are you part of the solution or part of the problem?
Bottled water, is it better? Charles Strand
According to the National Water Quality Association, 56% of all people are worried about the quality of municipally treated tap water. This, along with the desire for better tasting drinking water, has fuelled tremendous growth in the bottled water industry. We can all remember, not too long ago, when the bottled water section at the grocery store consisted of a very small allotment of counter space, primarily devoted to a few gallon jugs of distilled water.
Today, bottled water enjoys a major section of the beverage isle and the prestige of being the fastest growing segment of the entire beverage industry, not to mention the most profitable.
The bottled water industry has become the target of some of the largest corporations of the world. Chlorox Bleach Co. (manufacturer of Brita water filters; the world’s No.1 selling water filter), Pepsi Cola and Coca Cola are just a few of the recent entries capitalizing on this highly lucrative market, with Chlorox being the biggest participant in the bottled water business. Pepsi Cola’s, Aquafina and Coca Cola’s, Dasana almost instantly became each company’s most profitable product!
If we just take a common sense look at the companies controlling this industry, who are certainly not known for their health consciousness, we will begin to understand the misconception that has been created around the quality of bottled water. Millions and millions of dollars are spent each week on advertising campaigns to give the perception that these bottled waters come from some pristine mountain spring, when in reality they come from a municipal water system just like your tap does. Both Pepsi’s Aquasana and Coke’s Dasana are bottled at one of many bottling plants across America where municipal water is used as the source, as is the case with many leading brands.
The regulations that govern bottled water only require it to be ‘as good as’ tap water. There are no assurances or requirements that bottled water be of any higher quality than tap, and according to some recent studies, it may often be lower quality.
In March of 1999, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) released a report called “Bottled Water, Pure Drink or Pure Hype?” and petitioned the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for improvements in the FDAâ’s bottled water regulation program. The changes called for would simply require that the FDA’s bottled water rules be ‘less stringent’ than EPA’s tap water guidelines and ‘less protective of public health’.
NRDC’s report points out that as much as 40% of all bottled wateris actually tap water in a bottle. This report also focuses on the fact that 60 to 70% of all bottled water sold in the U.S. is exempt from FDA’s bottled water standards, because the Federal Standards do not apply to water bottled and sold within the same state. Unless the water is transported across state lines, there is no federal regulations that govern its quality. 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)
Bottled water is a multi-billion dollar business! It is the fastest growing segment of the entire beverage industry… and the most profitable.
Millions of dollars are spent each week by water bottlers to give consumers the perception that their water comes from some pristine mountain spring or pure underground aquifer.
The truth is that often bottled water is little more than tap water in a bottle. The Federal regulations that govern the quality of bottled water only apply if it is transported across state lines, and then only require it to be “as good as” tap water, not better. Most bottled water is bottled and sold within the same state to avoid Federal purity standards. There are no assurances or requirements that bottled water be any safer or better than tap water.
The U.S. FDA says: “Companies that promote bottled water as being safer than tap water are defrauding the American public.”
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 60-70% of all bottled water is exempt from FDA’s bottled water standards, because it is bottled and sold within the same state. 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.”
- 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 NRDC report on bottled water can be found at NRDC.org)
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”!
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 capable of producing the highest quality water.
Removing the chlorine, lead and other contaminants with a quality home water filtration system, at the point of use, just prior to consumption, with a system that is documented to produce chemical free water… is the only way to know for sure about the quality of your water.
Reprinted with permission – Sun Water Systems, Inc. Fort Worth, Texas.
Charles Strand, President, Sun Water Systems
Charles has over 15 years experience in the water industry and is recognized as a leading expert on home water treatment. Charles holds 17 U.S. and international patents for water filtration technologies and has produced and sold over 6.5 million home water systems.
As a popular speaker on the topic of water and its importance to human health, Charles has travelled all over the world teaching the need for and benefits of healthy water. With a passionate belief in the body’s ability to achieve health far beyond conventional expectations, Charles expresses a realistic connection between the quality of our water and the quality of our lives.
“The human body is over 72% water. It’s a common sense equation that the quality of the water we drink will have a dramatic impact on our health”.