Who Buys Bottled Water
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This information sheet, Bottled Water: Questions and Answers (PDF), answers common questions about bottled water. Bottled water is water sealed in a bottle or other container. Note that bottled water is different from vended water, which comes from a machine that dispenses water into a container.
Tap water from public water systems is regulated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under the Safe Drinking Water Act. The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) regularly tests public tap water for safety. The EPA requires the results of this testing to be made available to the public. The EPA also requires information about potential health effects of drinking water contaminants, the source of the water, and compliance with regulations to be made public.
Bottled water is regulated as a food product by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA does not require bottled water companies to use certified laboratories for water quality testing or to report test results. The FDA does require bottled water labels to list ingredients and nutritional information.
Bottled water comes from a variety of sources, including many of the same sources as tap water. Sometimes the water you can buy in a bottle is simply public tap water that has been enhanced in some way, such as changing the mineral content. Other sources of bottled water include springs, wells, and surface waters.
In these situations above, it is especially important to use bottled water for mixing infant formula or giving water to babies less than one year old. Bottled water may also be the best choice if a person has a health condition requiring lower levels of some substance. Talk to your doctor for advice on whether bottled water is appropriate for you.
Adding fluoride to public water is an effective public health measure to prevent tooth decay and improve oral health. In Minnesota, water from municipal public water systems almost always has fluoride.2 In contrast, bottled water may not contain fluoride, or if it does, it may not be at an optimal level.
If you buy bottled water, it is important to find out how much fluoride, if any, there is in the water. Some companies add fluoride to their product, and the amount must be included on the label. If fluoride is in the water naturally, the label does not have to include fluoride information. Contact the bottling company to find out how much fluoride is in their product.
The FDA considers bottled water to have an unlimited shelf life if it is produced properly and is unopened. Bottled water companies may choose to add a date to the bottle due to concerns about taste and odor, not safety. Bottled water should be stored in a cool location away from direct sunlight.
Bottled water can cost thousands of times more than tap water. In Minnesota, tap water costs 0.58 cents ($0.0058) per gallon on average. According to the Beverage Marketing Corporation (BMC), the average wholesale price per of domestic non-sparkling bottled water was $1.18 per gallon in 2019.3
All afternoon customers dropped by Walmart to pick up some water. The shelves for bottled water at Walmart in South Philly are bare after a public safety alert saying to not drink tap water in Philly popped up on phones.
Employees limited the water to two cases per customer, and other stores are also limiting water bottles until more supplies arrive. There was also a line at the water refill station, where customers filled up water for their coolers.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are both responsible for the safety of drinking water. EPA regulates public drinking water (tap water), while FDA regulates bottled drinking water.
FDA monitors and inspects bottled water products and processing plants under its food safety program. When FDA inspects plants, the Agency verifies that the plant's product water and operational water supply are obtained from an approved source; inspects washing and sanitizing procedures; inspects bottling operations; and determines whether the companies analyze their source water and product water for contaminants.
Americans like bottled water. According to the International Bottled Water Association, bottled water was the second most popular beverage in the U.S. in 2005, with Americans consuming more than 7.5 million gallons of bottled water - an average of 26 gallons per person. Today, only carbonated soft drinks out-sell bottled water.
New types of flavored and/or nutrient-added water beverages have begun to appear in stores and on food service menus. Some are simply bottled water with flavoring, others may also contain added nutrients such as vitamins, electrolytes like sodium and potassium, and amino acids. The bottled water ingredients of these flavored and nutrient-added water beverages must meet the bottled water requirements if the term \"water\" is highlighted on the label as in, for example, a product named Berry Flavored Spring Water Beverage. In addition, the flavorings and nutrients added to these beverages must comply with all applicable FDA safety requirements and they must be identified in the ingredient list on the label.
Many of us have heard some of the logic behind why using bottled water is a bad idea. Yet we continue to purchase it anyway. Sometimes seeing the big picture laid out in front of your eyes can make things more clear.
North America is by far the largest consumer of bottled water. Mexico uses the most per capita, but people in the United States are spending a ton of money on it, topping $15 billion in 2015 according to research by Mintel. Other estimates say Americans spend around $100 per person on bottled water each year.
Numbers comparing how much more expensive bottled water can be cover a wide range. Depending on what you purchase, drinking bottled water could be anywhere from 300x to 2,000x more expensive than getting it from your home faucet.
An article from CBS.com states there have been more than 100 recalls of bottled water. The article lists common water contaminants like algae, types of bacteria, and chlorine. But it also mentions things like glass particles, mold, and even crickets were found in Texas bottled water back in 1994. More recently, a North Carolina woman claimed she found larvae in her Dasani bottled water. Coca-Cola disputed the claim.
Peter Gleick is an environmentalist who authored the book Bottled and Sold, which criticizes the bottled water industry. He conducted a study estimating bottled water requires 2,000 times as much energy cost as tap water.
The recyclable PET plastic bottles may come with their own health risks. Chemicals known as phthalates have the potential to leach from the plastic into the water. Phthalates are known endocrine disruptors, which means they have the potential to mess up your hormones.
This is more likely if you let your water sit in a plastic bottle for a long time and allow it to be exposed to heat or sunlight. This increases the risk of plastic breaking down and getting into the water.
Well, how did bottled water business become an 11 billion-dollar industry in this country And bottling something that comes right to your tap already, that's what we'll be talking about for the rest of the hour. Plus, you've heard of a carbon footprint, but what about a water footprint My next guest says that it takes about 53 gallons of water to make a simple, single cup of coffee, about 530 gallons go in to a cotton t-shirt. Where does this water come from And are we going to use it all up Five hundred and it's for 53 gallons of water make a single cup of coffee.
Ms. ROYTE: You can pretty easily date it to 1977 when Perrier was introduced to urban areas, and it was a real niche product. It was really popular with urban professionals. People weren't walking down the street swigging from green glass bottles. But it started to change in 1989 with a sort of an uneventful, well, unspectacular, technological innovation. Bottlers could put water into very lightweight, cheap, clear, very crystal clear, plastic called PET plastic. And that's when the market really started to take off.
Ms. ROYTE: The water was much cheaper. And then the next big moment in the history of bottled water was in the '90s, when Coke and Pepsi got into the business, they were taking criticism for pushing sugary, fattening drinks on us.
Ms. ROYTE: Well, we're pretty susceptible to marketing. Hundreds of millions of dollars were spent, telling us that the water they were selling was pure, and healthful, and clean, and crisp, and it sounded really good, and there wasn't much competition from tap water. Utilities don't have marketing budgets and they're not telling you, drink more tap water, it'll help you do your yoga poses. So, it was pretty much - it had all of our attention, and we bought up those messages. It was also, you know, it's fashionable. There were water - they gave us the idea that water signified that it was classy to drink this water, and their messages gradually morphed from fashion to fear, as they played on ideas that perhaps...
Ms. ROYTE: I've heard the number in the 40s, 40-something percent, and what that's referring to is Coke's water, Dasani, and Pepsi's water, Aquafina, the number one and number two bestselling brands. And they do start from municipal supplies. But it isn't just tap water, because they take the water and they run it through micro-filters and reverse osmosis, and expose it to ultraviolet light and ozonation, so - and then, they put it into metal - plastic bottles. So it isn't going back out into the distribution system, through pipes that may or may not be, whatever.
Ms. ROYTE: Oh, that was - well, it was like Avian, when that was first introduced to this country. It was in a PVC bottle. It was - it cost the bottlers more, and it was a little bit cloudy and a little bit heavier. But the PET bottle made from polyethylene terephthalate is very lightweight, and cheap, and clear, and it makes the water look good. So, that was a big change and it made it possible for more people to get into the business, and ship water over here. 59ce067264