A New Reason to Skip Bottled Water

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Photo by Klearchos Kapoutsis/Flickr CC


There is so much wrong with bottled water that it's hard to know where to begin (read Elizabeth Hoyt'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.

Where does that leave us? Defend tap water!

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.

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Marion Nestle is a professor in the Department of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health at New York University. She is the author of Food Politics, Safe Food, What to Eat, and Pet Food Politics. More

Nestle also holds appointments as Professor of Sociology at NYU and Visiting Professor of Nutritional Sciences at Cornell. She is the author of three prize-winning books: Food Politics: How the Food Industry Influences Nutrition and Health (revised edition, 2007), Safe Food: The Politics of Food Safety (2003), and What to Eat (2006). Her most recent book is Feed Your Pet Right: The Authoritative Guide to Feeding Your Dog and Cat. She writes the Food Matters column for The San Francisco Chronicle and blogs almost daily at Food Politics.

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