by Marion Nestle

Currently browsing posts about: Bottled-water

Jul 17 2009

Regulation of bottled water: oops

There is so much wrong with bottled water that it’s hard to know where to begin (read Elizabeth Royte’s Bottlemania, for starters).  But let’s start with the fact that bottled water is the most brilliantly marketed product ever invented.  The companies get it practically free out of a tap and charge you a dollar or more – sometimes a lot more – for a quart or less).  The plastic bottles pollute the environment.  Worst of all, drinking bottled water makes people less apt to be vigilant about protecting public water supplies.

And it isn’t even regulated very well, or so says a report from the Government Accountability Office.  The title says it all: “Bottled water: FDA safety and consumer protections are often less stringent than comparable EPA protections for tap water.”  The report was released in time for congressional hearings on the topic.   Reporters had a lot of fun with the self-interested statements of industry people who testified.

None of this gets into the additional question of bisphenol A and other endocrine disrupters in plastic bottles that are sometimes used for water.  The Canadians are now saying that bisphenol A is safe at amounts commonly used, and so is a California expert committee.  The American Chemistry Council is pleased with these decisions.

Where does that leave us?  Defend tap water!  As for endocrine disrupters, stay tuned but why use bisphenol A when other alternatives are so readily available.

July 24 update: The International Bottled Water Association is suing a maker of steel water bottles for false advertising.  The bottle maker’s ads apparently suggested that plastic water bottles leak synthetic estrogens.   Bisphenol A must be causing serious problems for the bottled water industry, along with all those pesky enviromental concerns.

Oct 16 2008

Bottled water backlash hits Pepsi

Andrew Martin begins his account of the latest Pepsi quarterly report like this: “Tap water is making a comeback.  That’s bad news for PepsiCo’s profits.”  Sales are down 10%.  Why?  People aren’t buying as much soda or bottled water.  Score one for the environmental movement.

The Environmental Working Group says the plastic bottles are bad for the environment but that’s not all.  Its latest report tests the waters and finds plenty of fertilizer and drug residues in them. Oh great.

Sep 1 2008

Plastics are OK says ADA

The American Dietetic Association says plastic water bottles are OK to use and there is no need to worry about them.  Aren’t you relieved?  No conflicts of interest are noted in this report, but I hear rumors, as yet unconfirmed.

May 11 2008

Those worrying plastic water bottles: Consumer Reports weighs in

ConsumerReports.com has an especially understandable description of the plastic bottle situation. If the recycling number is 7, the plastic could be polycarbonate and leaching bisphenol A endocrine disrupters. It says recycling numbers 1, 2, or 5 are better bets. The Environmental Working Group says bisphenol A is the “signature compound in the fight for reform of the nation’s toxic chemicals laws. It contaminates nearly all Americans, it causes toxic effects at very low doses…yet the EPA has only the most clumsy and convoluted authority to control its use and reduce exposure to populations at risk.”

Apr 19 2008

Fiji Water an eco-choice? And what’s with plastic water bottles?

Thanks to Hugh Joseph for forwarding this Brandweek article about Fiji water with a subject line saying, “You could never make this up.” Fiji Water, it seems, has a new $10 million ad “carbon negative, globally positive” campaign to explain its carbon neutrality. Hmmm. The last I heard, Fiji was about 8,000 food miles away and plastic bottles were causing all kinds of environmental problems.

And now it seems that plastic bottles are also causing health problems, particularly from leaching of the endocrine disrupter, bisphenol A. Canada is all set to ban this chemical in general and has just banned it from baby bottles. The FDA is under pressure to do the same or at least set limits for it. And Nalgene says it won’t use it anymore.

Maybe Fiji Water bottles don’t use polycarbonate plastics (with bisphenol A) but it looks like any bottled water needs some re-thinking, no?

Apr 4 2008

Water fights

So now researchers at the University of Pennsylvania have reviewed the literature on claims that drinking 8 glasses of water a day makes you healthier. Their conclusion: not really (except under conditions of excessive heat, exercise, or illness). This is old news–you get plenty of water from whatever you are drinking and what’s naturally in food–but it’s bad news for health claims made by bottled water manufacturers. They, as you might expect, do not have nice things to say about this research.

Mar 11 2008

Bottled water vs. the environment

Bottled water is the target of environmental campaigns in the U.K as well as the U.S. My namesake, the Nestlé Corporation, appears to be under particular attack.  Acording to the British government, tap water “requires 300 times less energy than bottled water and does not create bottled packaging waste.”   I wonder how the company plans to rebut that argument. 

Mar 10 2008

Oxygen water–again?

I thought we were all done with the thoroughly discredited notion that extra-oxygenated water conferred special health benefits, but no such luck. It’s back with a vengeance and $4 million in advertising. This is one you can do at home (try shaking the bottle!).

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