Some experts insist it is still a better environmental option--and no less healthy than the bottled stuff--and a new technology hopes to make it easier for citizens to make the decision to move to tap.
Several water experts got together yesterday in New York City to discuss how to break the public's bottled water habit and get more people drinking from the tap.
Among the panelists was Elizabeth Royte, author of Garbage Land and Bottlemania, who reminded attendees that the multi-billion-dollar bottled water market presents not only environmental issues, but social ones as well. Large corporations set up bottling facilities in communities who fear the depletion of their water supply, and who believe they should be getting more from the companies in exchange. Royte fears a two-tiered system, where the rich can afford good, clean water, and everyone else can't.
Alex Matthiessen of Hudson Riverkeeper, a nonprofit organization devoted to protecting the Hudson River, spoke about the importance of steps such as ordering tap water at restaurants.
And pediatrician Laura Jana reported that she sees parents who are keen on giving their infants water--they shouldn't drink it before six-months old, she said--until the babies turn one, and parents instead choose to quench kids' thirst with sugary juice boxes and soda. It's time for parents to refocus on having their kids drink water, she said.
Of course, you want that water to be clean, and this event was put together by Zero Technologies, LLC, a company that makes ZeroWater, a new water filtration system.
The ZeroWater filter combines existing technology to create a 5-level filtration system, instead of only carbon, which is what many standard pitcher filters rely on.
The company also makes a TDS meter, a home-pregnancy-like stick test (pictured) that measures Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) in water, which can range from 25 parts per million (ppm) to 700 ppm, according to the company. The goal is to reach 0 ppm for the cleanest taste. (The meters are included when you buy a filtration system.)
The company's effective demo showed Houston, TX water at 271 ppm and Bensalem, PA water at 157 (New York City's was at 11 ppm--phew!). After running the water through a ZeroWater filter, a follow-up TDS meter test read 000 for all samples.
Zero Technologies CEO Doug Kellam explained that one of the goals of the company was to accelerate the move from bottled water to tap. And the company is making other environmental strides; it will recycle used filters through a mail back system. Andrea Knorr, lead scientist at Zero Technologies, said that 90 percent of the filter was recyclable.
And about those pharmaceuticals? Since there is no standard way to measure pharmaceuticals in water yet, it's difficult to make claims about a filter's ability to clean them out. But Raja Rajan, son and brother of the two inventors, said that for the sake of knowledge, the family crushed up dad's blood pressure meds and dissolved them into some water. Indeed, the TDS reading was 000 after the water streamed through the ZeroWater filter.
Raja also offered to make attendees a Zerotini--Absolut vodka filtered through a ZeroWater pitcher, which would actually remove the alcohol. Now that's a clean drink.
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