The Deception of the Bottled Water Industry

Do you pick up bases upon cases of bottled water each time you go grocery shopping? Though bottled water is convenient for long car rides and activities outdoors, many people purchase bottled water because they believe it is more healthful than tap water.

Unfortunately, the sad truth is that bottled water is often just glorified tap water with a 2,000% markup. What’s worse, all of this plastic is polluting the world because of deceptive marketing.

You may (or may not) be surprised to know that bottled water regulation actually operates on a different level than tap water. It is treated as a food in the United States, and is therefore subject to the rules and regulations of the Food and Drug Administration. But even still, 60-70% of water bottle products are not covered by FDA rules due to only being sold in a single state. Tap water regulation, however, is performed by the Environmental Protection Agency — which operates under different guidelines.

Bottled water does not need to meet the high standards that city tap water must meet in terms of water treatment, contamination, and other testing. Though even with stricter regulations, it’s important to note that tap water is far from healthful or safe.

Bottled Water Industry Revealed

One extensive study of bottled water brands, which has been considered groundbreaking, shows the following results of bottled water quality:

  • 9 out of 10 of the best selling bottled water brands either don’t disclose information about the source of the water, contamination testing, or if and how it is purified
  • Out of the 173 bottled water brands surveyed, over 50% flunked EWG’s transparency test
  • 18% of the bottled water tested failed to make known the location of their water source
  • 32% disclosed no information regarding the treatment or purity of the water

To put the icing on the cake, bottled water is sold for almost 2000 times the price of tap water. A typical cost per gallon of bottled water is $3.79 while a typical cost of tap water is $0.002/gallon.  The bottled water industry has spent billions on marketing and advertising to make this happen. Even worse, nearly half of all bottled water is municipal tap water.

So ask yourself, is it worth the cost? Not only for you, but for the planet as well. With 1.5 million tons of plastic being used to bottle water annually and 4 billion pounds of PET plastic bottles ending up in landfills or as roadside litter, it seems like a no-brainer to sack the bottled water companies. Only use bottled water for traveling and outdoor activities, and even then, choose glass over plastic. Instead, purchase a high quality water filter for your home and a reusable, BPA-free water bottle.

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