Thursday, January 19, 2012

The True "Safety" of Bottled Water

News about human conflicts and wars are dominating the headlines in newspapers and news websites. One of the most talked about wars isn't being fought overseas and it's being waged through corporate talks and conversations instead of guns and other weapons. It's a war over resources and personal preferences, and it's all over bottled water.
Envipco is an organization that focuses on rewarding companies for recycling (beverage companies in particular) and it has a unique board of directors that are made up of leaders from different industries. One of the most popular selling points for bottled water is the alleged safety of the product. If people knew the truth about how safe the average bottle of Poland Springs is, they wouldn't buy bottle water again.
Questionable Sources
It would be a lie to say that all municipal water sources are 100% clean and safe, but companies blatantly lie when they advertise their water as "fresh from natural water springs." According to the National Resources Defense Council 40% of bottled water is regular tap water, and public aquifers and water resources are used far more to harvest bottled water than "fresh" springs and streams are.
Harvesting the product from public resources also can create problems for local communities. Companies rarely pay top dollar for the resources they take, towns and communities where water is taken seldom see any profits from the water they supply. Some bottlers take water without factoring in local droughts or community water needs, so some companies have the potential to actually deplete local aquifers and groundwater resources.
False Safety
Some of you may be wondering what's so terrible about a beverage that made a software executive like Gregory S. Garvey and a cement trader like Alexander F Bouri work against it. Organizations like Envipco encourage corporate recycling in hopes of lessening the environmental damage plastic pollution causes, but disposable plastic water bottles cause far more than just environmental damage. Public water resources are far more heavily monitored than the water used in bottled waters. The EPA requires utility companies to test public water resources hundreds of times each month, but the FDA only requires bottling companies to test their water supply once a week. When it comes to checking for chemical, physical, and radiological contaminants in bottled water, the FDA only requires a single test per year.
The National Resources Defense Council tested 103 brands and around one quarter of the brands tested had chemical and bacterial contamination levels that violated state standards. The same study also found that one-fifth of the tested brands exceeded state bottled water microbial guidelines. The FDA also doesn't require bottles and their contents to be checked for phthalates and other chemicals commonly used in plastic bottle production. Overall the FDA also only monitors around 30%-40% of water that's transported along state lines. Many people end up drinking questionable and potentially dangerous water when they think they're getting 100% natural and safe bottled water.

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