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Is Your Bottled Water Really Clean?

The bottled water industry has exploded in recent years, and enjoys annual sales of more than $35 billion worldwide. Americans paid $7.7 billion for bottled water in 2002, according to the consulting and research firm Beverage Marketing Corporation.

This article is an outstanding comprehensive update of the bottled water industry. I posted an article on this two years ago that addressed many of these same issues.

According to Co-op America, "as much as 40 percent of bottled water is actually bottled tap water, sometimes with additional treatment, sometimes not." The number one (Aquafina) and two (Dasani) top-selling brands of bottled water in the U.S. both fall in the category of purified water. Dasani is sold by Coca-Cola, while Aquafina is a Pepsi product. As U.S. News & World Report explains, "Aquafina is municipal water from spots like Wichita, Kansas."

There is also an environmental issue to consider. Not surprisingly, a considerable number of used water bottles end up as litter, where they can take up to 1,000 years to biodegrade. Nine out of 10 plastic water bottles end up as either garbage or litter--at a rate of 30 million per day. When some plastic bottles are incinerated along with other trash, as is the practice in many municipalities, toxic chlorine is released into the air while heavy metals deposit in the ash. If plastics are buried in landfills, not only do they take up valuable space, but potentially toxic additives such as phthalates may leak into the groundwater.

You can also review the 100-page report from the National Resources Defense Council for further information.

I believe the best approach is to filter your own water. It would also be helpful to have your water analyzed. We have made arrangements with a top-notch testing company to have a no-cost evaluation of your water.

Hartford Advocate News August 28, 2003

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