Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Beware: Bottled Water, Not That Pure.

Bottled water contains disinfection byproducts, fertilizer residue, and medications.

The bottled water industry promotes an image of purity, but comprehensive testing by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) reveals a surprising array of chemical contaminants in every bottled water brand analyzed, including toxic byproducts of chlorination in the Walmart, Sam’s Choice and Giant Supermarket's Acadia brands, at the same levels routinely found in tap water. Several Sam's Choice samples that were purchased in California exceeded legal limits for bottled water contaminants in that state. Cancer-causing contaminants in bottled water purchased in 5 states (North Carolina, California, Virginia, Delaware and Maryland) and the District of Columbia exceeded the voluntary standards established by the bottled water industry by a substantial margin.

Unlike tap water, where consumers are provided with test results every year, the bottled water industry does not disclose the results of any contaminant testing that it conducts. Instead, the industry hides behind the claim that bottled water is held to the same safety standards as tap water. But with promotional campaigns saturated with images of crystal clear mountain springs, and prices 1,900 times the national average price of tap water, consumers are clearly miss-led to believe that they are buying a product that has been purified to a level beyond the tap water.
To the contrary, tests strongly indicate that the quality of bottled water cannot be trusted. Given the industry's refusal to make available data to support their claims, consumer confidence in the safety of bottled water is simply not justified.

Laboratory tests conducted at one of the country’s leading water quality laboratories found that 10 popular brands of bottled water, purchased from grocery stores and other retailers in 9 states and the District of Columbia, contained 38 chemical pollutants altogether, with an average of 8 contaminants in each brand. More than one-third of the chemicals found are not regulated in bottled water. In the Sam's Choice and Acadia brands, levels of some chemicals exceeded legal limits in California as well as industry-sponsored voluntary safety standards. Four brands were also contaminated with bacteria.

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