Danger In A Bottle Of Water? Study Questions The Safety Of Bottled Water

By Alice Carver
14:30, October 15th 2008


Source of Article:  http://www.efluxmedia.com/news_Danger_In_A_Bottle_Of_Water_Study_Questions_The_Safety_Of_Bottled_Water_26624.html






Bottled water is presented as being higher quality water and it certainly costs more than tap water. Manufacturers and importers of bottled water are required to ensure that their products meet the state safety and health standards. Unlike tap water, water bottlers must comply with FDA, EPA and OSHA standards.

Is bottled water safer than tap water? A study conducted by the Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit organization, looked for answers to this question.

The study challenges the idea that bottled water is purer and safer than tap water. While some tap water’s safety may be questioned, the findings show that bottled water is no safer.

The Environmental Working Group’s study included testing of 10 brands of bottled water purchased by the group in California, Washington, D.C., and eight other states and found that two brands violated a California state standard. The study’s lab tests of bottled water detected 38 chemicals including bacteria, caffeine, the pain reliever acetaminophen, fertilizer, solvents, plastic-making chemicals and the radioactive element strontium. Wal-Mart's Sam's Choice contained chemical levels that exceeded legal limits in California.

Three bottles of Sam's Choice purchased in Mountain View and Oakland contained bromodichloromethane, a carcinogen, at levels from 7.7 ppb and 13 ppb. In the Wal-Mart and Giant Food bottled water, the highest concentration of chlorine byproducts, known as trihalomethanes, was over 35 parts per billion. Wal-Mart owns 4,200 stores in the United States.

The environmental group filled a notice of intent to sue the chain. The group wants Wal-Mart to label its bottles in California with a warning as high concentrations of trihalomethanes have been linked with cancer.

Wal-Mart said it stands by its product. Wal-Mart spokeswoman Shannon Frederick said that the company’s lab tests had detected no “reportable amounts” of the chlorine-based contaminants. He said the company is “disappointed” that the EWG has not shared more details with the corporation as they continue to investigate this matter.

Also present in the bottled water were the pharmaceutical Tylenol, arsenic, radioactive isotopes, nitrates, and ammonia from fertiliser residue.

“In some cases, it appears bottled water is no less polluted than tap water and, at 1,900 times the cost, consumers should expect better,” said Jane Houlihan, co-author of the study.

Bottled water may also contain chemicals that leach out of plastic bottles, which are made of PET, or polyethylene terephthalate.

Nationwide, 70% of all Americans drink bottled water at least once a week. At the national level, the Food and Drug Administration is responsible for bottled water safety, but the FDA's rules exempt waters that are packaged and sold within the same state. Unless water is transported across state lines, there is no federal regulation to govern its quality. 60% to 70 % of bottled water in the US is exempt from FDA standards. The FDA doesn’t require bottled water companies to inform consumers of the source and presence of contaminants.

The environmental group recommends that consumers worried about the quality and the safety of bottled water should drink filtered tap water.




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