I remember squirming when my favorite manager at Shell quiped one day: there are two things you don’t want to see being made: your car and your hot dog. I would now add to that, your bottled water. As it stands, the regulations for bottled water are weaker than for tap water. This is news to most people who just assume bottled water is better than tap due to a decades long bottled water marketing blitz. According to the July 8, 2009 Wall Street Journal article by Jane Zhang: “…by December, bottlers must eliminate E.coli in their products.” Bottoms up!
Currently, if bottling companies find contamination, they do not have to report it, whereas municipal water suppliers are required by the EPA to report contaminants within 24 hours according to Zhang. Bottling companies should also be required to put more information on their labels. It seems, Congress is on it. Stricter regulations for bottled water are being discussed on Capitol Hill. It’s about time they do something to better regulate this $11.2 billion industry.
Personally, I’ll be disappointed if bottled water is held to the same high quality standard as tap water. The poor regulation of bottled water makes a very compelling argument for my business, Back2Tap. If this new legislation comes to pass, we’ll merely have the staggering waste and unhealthy plastic arguments to convince people to forego bottled water…
How does the fact that 100 million disposable plastic bottles are thrown in landfills every day in the USA sound? How about the fact that plastic takes more than 700 years to decompose? How about the 4 ounces of petroleum used and 120 grams of CO2 generated in the manufacturing of each bottle of water? How about the unknown health effects of plastic components leaching from the bottle into the water when it is stored under warm conditions? On second thought, I guess we still may still be able to convince some people to kick the bottled water habit, even if there’s not supposed to be any more E.coli in it after December.