Study: Bottled water no better than tap water

GENEVA (AP) — Despite perceptions that it’s healthier, there is little difference between bottled water and tap water — apart from cost — a conservation group said Thursday.

“Bottled water may be no safer, or healthier, than tap water in many countries while selling for up to 1,000 times the price,” the World Wildlife Fund said.

Bottled water is the fastest growing beverage industry in the world, worth up to $22 billion a year, according to the fund.

A study commissioned by the fund found the “bottled water market is partly fueled by concerns over the safety of municipal water and by the marketing of many brands which portray them as being healthier than tap water.”

The fund also said bottled water sales were rising because people were worried about pollution.

“Our attitudes toward tap water are being shaped by the pollution which is choking the rivers and streams,” said the fund’s water campaign director Richard Holland.

But the study — conducted by University of Geneva researcher Catherine Ferrier — said the only difference between some bottled water and tap water is that it is distributed in bottles rather than pipes.

But Stephen Kay, spokesman for the International Bottled Water Association, said the fund’s criticism was misguided.

“The goals are laudable, and we agree totally that people have a right to clean drinking water,” he told The Associated Press by telephone from Alexandria, Va. “But bottled water sales are a symptom of the problem, not the cause itself.”

“The difference between bottled water and tap water is that bottled water’s quality is consistent,” he said.

But according to the fund, regulatory standards for European and U.S. tap water are tougher than those applied to the bottled water industry.

While agreeing bottled water may be safer in areas where tap water may be contaminated, the fund said boiled or filtered tap water is still a better option for people on a lower income.

Buying bottled water is “not a long term sustainable solution to securing access to healthy water. Protecting rivers will help ensure that tap water remains a service which delivers good quality drinking water for everyone at a fair price,” according to the fund.

The group added that 1.5 million tons of plastic are used to bottle water every year. “Toxic chemicals can be released into the environment during the manufacture and disposal of bottles,” it said.

Thursday, 3 May, 2001

Bottled water ‘a waste of money’

Cheaper and better for the environment, says the WWF

By Claire Doole in Geneva

Research commissioned by a Swiss-based conservation group indicates that bottled water is often no healthier or safer to drink than tap water.

The World Wide Fund for Nature argues strongly that bottled water is not only environmentally unfriendly but also a waste of money. The research by the University of Geneva shows that bottled water sells for up to 1,000 times the price of tap water, but that the quality is often no better.

In 50% of cases the only difference is that bottled water has added minerals and salts, which do not actually mean the water is healthier.

Furthermore, some bottled waters are exactly the same standard as tap water, without being as energy efficient.

Uphill battle

Tap water comes from underground pipes, while the manufacture, distribution and disposal of bottled water requires much more energy and fuel.

While the WWF does acknowledge that bottled water is generally safer in areas where tap water is contaminated, it says boiling or filtering local water is a cheaper and more sustainable alternative.

The long-term solution, it argues, is to clean up municipal water supplies.

But in the meantime, the conservationists are fighting an uphill battle.

The bottled water market is booming. It is the fastest growing drinks industry in the world and shows no signs of drying up.

Just Say No To Bottled Water!

    Bottled water is over priced, over 95% of cost is bottle, label, lid and transportation.
  • Bottled water is virtually unregulated, industry lobbyists fight against Federal Purity Regulations every year in Washington… Why?
  • Bottled water is bad for the environment, Millions of plastic bottles pollute our landfills daily.
  • Any time water is stored for a prolonged period of time in a plastic bottle, it will take on traces of the chemicals used in the plastic such as Pthylate.
  • According to the FDA, “Companies that market bottled water as being safer than tap water are defrauding the American public…”
  • Home water filtration offers significantly higher quality water, at a fraction of the cost and far more convenient than bottled water.