It is no secret that bottled water costs more than tap water, but is it reasonable to state it costs 1,000 times more? It is very difficult to give an exact number for the difference between the two, but 1,000 to 2,000 times more is a reasonable estimate. This is based on the fact that on average, a gallon of bottled water costs $1. 22. Protesters against bottled water industries use the highest prices of water bottles they can find as a way to show a bigger contrast between the two, essentially dissuading consumers from buying.
Whether it’s by using the “fanciest” mported water, to using bottles that are larger and contain more water, to using packages of bottled water, each variable makes the price differences very difficult to distinguish. Visual Model of Skewed Data Skewing data adds more to the argument that bottled water does not only hurt the environment, but also the consumer, and thus leads many to compare the highest prices to tap water.
While in reality, median price differences between bottled water and tap water show a better example between the two, and are most likely 1,000 to 2,000 times more, it has always been bvious that the price will inevitably be higher. Advocates for ending the bottled water industry generally use the highest possible average, which greatly skews the data to the right as an attempt to show consumers that the business is not only cheating the environment, but the consumers. It is important to remember tap water is not only greener, but cheaper.
The FDA and BPA share the responsibility of regulating bottled and tap water. The EPA regulates the production, distribution and quality of tap/drinking water with its Office of Groundwater and Drinking Water. They play a key role in source water protection and operation of drinking water systems as well as managing contaminant levels and reporting requirements. The EPA works towards disinfecting and filtering the water. In addition, they make sure that the filtration is successful enough to control the levels of contaminants, such as Cryptosporidium and Giardia Lamblia, in the water.
The only contaminants allowed in the water are those who show to have no effect of human health. Since water is categorized as food by the FDA, they follow the regulations for safe and wholesome foods specified in The Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. Title 21 of the Code of Federal Regulations specifies the regulations for different types of bottled water and their levels of contaminants which include; chemical, physical, microbial and radiological allowed to be in the water.
The FDA also handles and regulates the manufacture of bottled water in a detailed and attentive way through the “Current Good Manufacturing Practice,” Both the FDA and EPA work towards providing the freshest and cleanest water possible and go to extents to make sure the end product is of the utmost quality. The FDA has a general food and safety rogram which monitors the processing plants that produce the bottled water. Most of these plants have a good reputation for producing and packaging safe drinking water, so as a result, they are not extensively monitored.
Plants who have had incidents where they have been found to be breaking regulation, undergo much stricter check-ups. In order for them to pass regular testing they must show their water is from an approved water source, have adequate washing and sanitizing procedures, in addition to this their filling, capping, and sealing operations must also pass regulation. In order to thoroughly inspect the quality of water, the FDA regularly collects samples from different manufacturers and tests for microbiological, radiological or chemical contamination.
The quality and overall safety of tap water has been widely controversial and many against the industry claim it causes many health complications. Tap water quality is monitored by the EPA, the state the water comes from, and tribes. These drinking water systems that are either privately or publically owned are periodically reported and tested for any contamination that may be present. The EPA ollowed SDWA regulations in order to secure that proper regulations are being met.
The Underground Injection Control program regulates the construction, operation of injection wells which protects water from other wells from being contaminated in the case that surrounding wells are not properly running. The EPA secures that they source is running properly and does not violate any SDWA guidelines that could cause harm to human health. The FDA has authority over all the food and drugs that goes through interstate commerce. It has power over the finished product and everything that was used to make it even if hose materials did not go through interstate commerce.
In order to assure the consumer that the protect does not pose any threat to human health it provides the guidelines it is required to pass in order to enter the market. In addition, the bottled water must follow the identity regulations which state that the manufacturer must give a brief description of the water on the label along with a general name. The FDA requires the water bottle label to specify the source from which the water was taken, the company’s information if by any reason they would want to contact them, and information regarding quality.
The final product which passes through interstate commerce is thoroughly inspected by the FDA to assure the consumer that they materials used to make it were safe and properly used. The FDA works with the CFSAN located in College Park, Maryland to regulate and inspect the quality and safeness of bottled water. The CFSAN consists of over 800 employees, many of those being nutritionists, biologists, and pharmacists, etc. Their goal is to make sure that food supply is safe, sanitary, and labeled correctly. In this process, they inspect not only the food, which is this case is water, but also check the packaging it is in.
They then report the data to the FDA in order to get it approved before the product is put out into the market. The FDA and EPA both regulate water, and they both must be regulated as stringently as each other. However, there are a few loopholes and backdoors that are often not considered. Bottled water is considered an item of food by the FDA. This means that the water does not have to be tested. In addition, the “FDA does not require bottled water companies to disclose to consumers where the water came from, how it has been treated or what contaminants it contains. ” (New York Times).
While the FDA does n fact hold standards of water quality regulations, it is wrong to say that both the FDA and EPA regulate water at the same level. The FDA has different classes, or Standards of Identity, of water such as: bottled, drinking, artesian, groundwater, distilled, deionized, reverse osmosis, mineral, purified, sparkling, spring, sterile, and well water. Bottled water is put into these classes based on where they came from, how it is collected and treated, what is added etc. These classifications are printed on the bottle, and provides the customer with some sort of insight for what they are drinking.
However, these classes do not tell the full story, and most customers do not know what each of the classes represents. While in the long run, the bottled water industry may not be the number one reason for draining groundwater, it does in fact harm local water sources. A study has observed that the largest water bottle companies have been draining water from “the most drought-ridden places in the country” (MotherJones). Cities in the south west, especially in Southern California, are constantly being drained, at hundreds of gallons of water a day, in order to produce bottled water to ell to the rest of the country.
Companies such as Aquafina, PepsiCo, Dasani, and Coca-Cola, are the largest predators in this water crisis. While the water industry keeps pulling groundwater, California citizens, similar to those in Greenwich, are being punished, having to face obstacles such as: water restrictions, forest fires, dust and sand storms. While bottled water may not be the biggest consumer of groundwater, these companies are drawing water from some of the driest areas of the United States. It is true, PET plastic does not contains Bisphenol A (BPA), which is found in many hard lastic bottles.
BPA has been found to cause an “increase the risk of reproductive health problems and possibly breast, prostate, and ovarian cancers” (U. S. News). However, other “estrogenlike compounds” (U. S. News) have been found in soft, disposable water bottles. In fact, in a study in Germany, 78% of water bottle samples contained high amount of “endocrine disrupters”and 33% of glass containers had a high chemical count as well. The FDA has recently changed its perspective stating “BPA is safe at the very low levels that occur in some foods” but this is ONLY for BPA.
Combined with the many other chemicals found in plastic water bottles, many health risks arise. BPA, which has been banned from the use in baby bottles, poses serious health risks to fetal and growing infants. The endocrine disrupters are detrimental to the infant. In fact, is it predicted that BPA count in infants is eleven times higher than in adults. This affects protein levels in babies and children which ultimately may cause kidney and cardiovascular problems. While many water bottles claim to be “BPA-free”, there is little to no mention of BPS (Bisphenol-S).
The side effects are nearly he same, however, there is nearly no talk of it. U. S. News contributor, Deborah Kotz, claims “Nearly 81 percent of Americans have detectable levels of BPS in their urine. And once it enters the body it can affect cells in ways that parallel BPA” (US News). So, while BPA may be “safe”, there are plenty of other harmful chemicals that have the same side effects as BPA. On any controversial topic, two parties will try their hardest to undermine the validity of the other’s arguments. As society advances and our population grows, our need for resources will continue to grow accordingly.
This fact spurs the argument of ending the process of bottling water to save not only the environment, but the consumer as well. As the two parties, probottled water and pro-tap water continue to fight against each other, it is important for the general public to have a clear view of what is true, and what is false. As the fate of the environment rests in the hands of the human race, the only way to determine how to properly go about the matter, is to be aware of the facts and “myths” presented, and make well-educated decisions. The more we know, the better off we will be, and the closer we will get to “debunking” the bottled water issue .