I’ve long thought that bottled water is a colossal waste of water and money and to a large extent a huge burden on the environment both during production of the bottles and in the management of used bottles. I recently found the movie “Tapped” on Netflix and have been watching it in pieces over the past two days. I would like to share with you some highlights from later in the movie as well as offer some of my own thoughts on the bottled water industry.
I encourage open discussion about this topic: marketing companies have created a belief in this country that we need to carry around water with us where ever we go whenever we go there, even if we are driving from our home (which has water) to our workplace (which more often than not has water). Even if our commute takes 6 hours (which more often than not it doesn’t) we WILL NOT (likely) DIE FROM DEHYDRATION if we don’t carry bottled water with us. Trust me on this, mmmkay?
Yes, in general we need to drink more water and less…non water (soda, etc…stay away from my coffee, and nobody gets hurt…) but I really don’t believe that we need to be suckled onto bottled water like a toddler to a sippy cup 24 flippin’ 7. Especially when most of the bottled water comes from “public sources” (e.i. the tap).
Adrianna Quintero, Senior Attorney, Natural Resources Defence Council: “There’s a huge difference between the regulation of tap water and the regulation of bottled water. To put it simply, tap water, municipal drinking water, is highly regulated, and bottled water is virtually unregulated.”
There is ONE person at the FDA who overseas the bottled water industry for the entire US. This isn’t her only responsibility, it is just one of many.
The FDA requires that bottled water companies run their own quality tests on their own product, but are not required to submit the reports to the FDA and the reports are not made public.
Municipalites, on the other hand, ARE required to make their water quality reports available to the public. Here is the one from my town, one from Corpus Christi, TX, and one from Juneau, AK.
This report published in 2011 by the Environmental Working Group sheds some interesting light on bottled water quality and what some of the companies may be hiding from consumers. Here, too, are 5 reasons from the EWG to skip bottled water.
Keep in mind that most bottled water companies are owned by larger corporations that also make soft drinks. Where do you think they get the water for those? Yep. Same water. I have a good friend who used to work for a bottling company and he said that when it was time for the line to produce bottled water, all they did was turn OFF the valve that added the soft drink mix into the water stream, flush out the lines downstream, and start to fill water bottles. Good times…
I leave you with these thoughts from Ruth Caplan National Coordinator, Defending Water for Life, Alliance for Democracy, “When we find out that there’s something in our tap water that shouldn’t be there, it’s because it’s constantly being tested. Municipalites have to test it many, many times a day. In a city over a million has to be tested 300 times a month, in a city of 3 million or more it has to be tested 400 times a month. So who you gonna go with? Half of one person at the Food and Drug Adminstration telling you that these billions of bottles of water are safe, or are you going to go with municipalities who are testing the water many, many, many times a day? Who do you trust?”