Bottled water is one of the greatest marketing scams of the modern age. Take PepsiCo’s Aquafina brand, for example. Just by including a picture of mountains on the label, we are led to believe that this water originates from a natural drinking source. It’s essentially the same tactic that is used by several companies who bottle and sell water to the masses, as well as by food manufacturers who wish us to believe their products are ‘natural.’
Pepsico recently admitted that Aquafina is really just tap water, so ask yourself, why do we pay 2,000x the price of tap for it?
Nestle’s Pure Life and Coca-Cola’s Dasani, the world’s largest corporate water brands, are also guilty of this kind of willful misdirection. Three years ago, Coca-Cola admitted that Dasani is just filtered tap water.
In 2007, Corporate Accountability International, based in Boston, pressured the U.S. manufacturer of Aquafina bottled water to make it clear that the drink is made with treated tap water. They said that PepsiCo was guilty of misleading marketing practices used to “turn water from a natural resource into a pricey consumer item.”
Although this was several years ago, activists are still pressuring the company to label all of their bottles with something that, truly, should be public knowledge.
Important Facts About Bottled Water
1. Bottled Water is More Expensive Than Tap Water
According to Business Insider, the bottled water industry “grossed a total of $11.8 billion on 9.7 billion gallons (of water) in 2012, making bottled water about $1.22/gallon nationwide and 300x the cost of a gallon of tap water. If we take into account the fact that almost 2/3 of all bottled water sales are single 16.90z (500mL) bottles, though, this cost is much, much higher: about $7.50 per gallon, according to the American Water Works Association. That’s almost 2,000x the cost of a gallon of tap water and twice the cost of a gallon of regular gasoline.”
The article goes on to mention several other shocking statistics, like the fact that bottled water consumption and sales have increased approximately 350% respectively since the tracking of the dollar amounts in 1991. In that year alone, Americans spent $2.5 billion on 2.4 billion gallons (about $1.07/gallon).
The plastic bottles of water we buy every week in the United States alone could circle the globe five times. That’s not a comfortable thought, and it should have us questioning our activities on the planet, and whether or not the convenience is worth the cost in ecological damage.
2. Potentially Harmful Chemicals In Bottled Water
Truth is, it takes a lot of oil to make plastic bottles. The amount of oil it takes to make plastic water bottles in the United States alone could fuel approximately one million cars and light trucks for a year. (source)
Not long ago, German researchers discovered endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs), that could adversely affect development and reproduction, to be contained in 18 popular name brand bottled water products. Of the 24,520 suspect chemicals found to be present in bottled water, the one that showed consistent results and illustrated anti-androgenic and anti-estrogenic activity was di(2-ethylhexyl) fumarate (DEHF). Endocrine disruptors are chemicals that can interfere with the hormone system; they can cause cancerous tumors, birth defects, cardiovascular disorders, metabolic disorders, and, as mentioned earlier, other developmental disorders.
“An increasing number of in vitro studies reports the presence of EDCs in bottled water , , , , . With previous studies focusing on estrogenicity, the present work provides evidence for an additional contamination with steroid receptor antagonists. Using an optimized extraction procedure, we detected antiestrogens and antiandrogens in the majority of analyzed bottled water products. Moreover, the antagonist activity was very potent. An equivalent of 3.75 mL bottled water inhibited estrogen and androgen receptor by up to 60 and 90%, respectively. . . . From a broader perspective, bottled water from six different countries has been found to contain estrogenic , , , , , antiestrogenic, and antiandrogenic (this study), as well as androgenic, progestagenic, and glucocorticoid-like chemicals . This demonstrates that a popular beverage is contaminated with diverse-acting EDCs.” (source)
Researchers used spectrometric simulation to narrow down their findings to DEHF as the only possible EDC giving rise to harmful activity. DEHF is also known as an anti-estrogenic compound, which means that another unidentified EDC must be present in the samples that showed anti-androgenic activity
3. Bottled Water Could Potentially Be of Lower Quality Than Tap Water
Not long ago the city of Cleveland conducted a test on the Fiji Water brand and discovered that their water actually contained traces of arsenic, while the city’s own water supply did not.
How is this possible?
“Bottled water manufacturers are not required to disclose as much information as municipal water utilities because of gaps in federal oversight authority, according to reports released yesterday by government auditors. Bottom line: The Food and Drug Administration oversees bottled water, and U.S. EPA is in charge of tap water. FDA lacks the regulatory authority of EPA, John Stephenson of the Government Accountability Office told a House panel.” – Sarah Goodman of the New York Times
The list is a long one, and it’s pretty ridiculous when you think about the fact that there are almost one billion people on this planet who do not have access to clean drinking water. More frustrating still is the reality that it doesn’t need to be this way. Children are dying by the minute from waterborne diseases and we have spent billions of dollars trying to vaccinate these populations, yet the same level of effort is not being made to provide clean drinking water to various communities around the world.
Our greed seems to be the source of this problem… what do you think?
The Story of Bottled Water (2010)
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