More Disinformation in the Media About Water

It seems that every six months or so, another delusive study about bottle water is released. What is worse is that the mass media loves to broadcast and print the disinformation. The result is that thousands of intelligent citizens are treated liked idiots.

The latest report to make my blood boil was released this week. The Government Accountability Office and the Environmental Working Group (who are they?)claim that consumers know less about the water they buy in bottles then the water that comes out of the tap. They say this is because bottles do not contain the same information that municipal water producers must disclose. Well, here is my first argument.

Does anyone know what their tap water contains? Do you know what the tap water your served in the restaurant contains? I don't remember a waiter ever offering me a water analysis when I'm in a restaurant. Maybe it was on the bottom of the glass!

The reality is that once a year municipalities are required to provide each customer with a water analysis. Most people would not understand them. Most people likely throw them away, I speculate. The labels on bottled water contain some information including the source of the water and some mineral content. They are too small to contain the whole 22 page water analysis. But mandatory on every bottle is a contact telephone number to call to request this information.

The Bottled Water industry is highly regulated and most reputable bottled water companies adhere to FDA regulations. Most are members of the IBWA, International Bottled Water Association which requires that their members adhere to their strict rules.

Because I defend the bottled water industry, as well as citizens rights to choose what ever beverage they please, you might think that I do not approve of tap water. Contrarily, I think the major municipal water utilities do a good job treating our water supplies and provide a safe product. A major problem that seems to be always overlooked by those that decry bottled water and recommend tap is that people do recognize that tap water has problems and is just not as convenient to obtain when away from home. The chief problem, particularly where I live in Florida, is the taste. The water contains chlorine necessary for sanitation but unfortunately departs a bad taste and odor. Many restaurants serve water with lemon for that reason. If you filter it with a carbon filter the water tastes very good. Yea for tap water. Unfortunately, most of use do not carry our filtration equipment with us when we travel to work, the park the gym etc. Much easier to buy a bottle of water.

Bottled water companies process water much the same way municipalities do. The difference is that one is a government entity and the other is for profit. If the for profit screws up they can be out of business. If the government entity screws up, we all boil water for a week but they keep on going. So we trust Nestle, Coke, Pepsi, Evian, Poland Spring and the many other well known brands to do the right thing.

When I watch video of government meetings I rarely see anything but bottled water on the table. When the GAO presented their report before a sub-committee of congress, I wonder what was on the table in front of every attendee, tap or bottled water?