Do the images of pristine waterways and untouched springs on bottled water cause you to think the water is pure?
The Environmental Working Group suggests otherwise. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the EWG tested 10 brands of bottled water and found that Wal-Mart's Sam's Choice contained chemical levels that exceeded legal limits in California and the voluntary standards adopted by the industry.
Furthermore, the tests found an average of eight contaminants in each brand, and four brands aside from Wal-Mart's were contaminated with bacteria.The EWG also mentions Giant's Acadia, but hasn't released the other brands involved in the test, and says it will only do so after more extensive testing is complete.
Other contaminants found in some of the water samples include caffeine and Tylenol, as well as arsenic, radioactive isotopes, nitrates and ammonia from fertilizer residue. Industrial chemicals used as solvents, degreasing agents and propellants were also found in the tests.
Olga Naidenko, an EWG toxicologist is quoted in the article: "The investigation has uncovered that consumers cannot be assured of the quality of their bottled water. Our study was a snapshot of the marketplace. We found some brands that provided good quality and other brands that contained various chemical pollutants. What this shows is that consumers cannot have confidence."
The FDA requires bottled water to meet the same standards as tap, which is 80ppb (parts per billion). However, the article says that the FDA doesn't require bottled water companies to reveal the source and presence of contaminants in their water, which municipal water suppliers must do by law.
Americans drank more than 8 billion gallons of bottled water in 2007, according to the FDA. The SF Chronicle says the typical cost is $3.79 per gallon, 1,900 times the cost of public tap water.
But It looks like there has been some progress in the green campaign to bring people back to tap. PepsiCo announced it would cut 3,300 jobs and as many as six plants to cut costs, according to the New York Times, because quarterly earnings were down 10 percent, in part due to declines in sales of soda and bottled water in the US.
The article says that according to PepsiCo and industry analysts, consumers are increasingly choosing tap water over other beverages at restaurants and at home to help save money and the environment. Research found that 34 percent of consumers say they are reusing plastic bottles more often and 23 percent say they are choosing tap water over other beverages to create less waste.
Carbonated soft drink sales have been declining for years, but the volatile economy has added new problems; consumers are eating out less and buying fewer grab-and-go beverages.
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