Friday, July 10, 2009

Bottled Water Regulation is Insufficient, Tap Water May Be Safer: House Investigates While GOP Rolls Eyes

by Meg White

water bottleWhen you think back on it, the commoditization of a resource that humans literally cannot live without happened relatively easily. After a year or two of people laughing off the idea of bottled water, it was accepted as a fact of life, and now has become the way the majority of Americans get their H2O.

Many cite the health and safety benefits of water encased in plastic in defense of bottled water, but there is no guarantee that the product is any different from what comes out of one's tap. That was the subject of Wednesday's hearing of the House Energy and Commerce Committee's Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee.

Two reports being made public Wednesday spurred the subcommittee to hold a hearing on the subject.

One study on bottled water by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), a nonprofit research and advocacy organization, found "the purity of bottled water cannot be trusted:"

Laboratory tests conducted for EWG at one of the country's leading water quality laboratories found that 10 popular brands of bottled water, purchased from grocery stores and other retailers in 9 states and the District of Columbia, contained 38 chemical pollutants altogether, with an average of 8 contaminants in each brand.

The study found that while Wal-Mart bottled water brand Sam's Choice was no better than tap water, it also contained cancer-causing agents and other contaminants at levels that exceeded state limits. The group reports it is suing the corporation to force them to add a carcinogenic warning label on their water bottles.

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