Bottled water: big business, big cost
August 27, 2008
- According to Beverage Marketing, a provider of beverage industry data, bottled water sales in the United States reached 8.82 billion gallons in 2007, worth $11.7 billion, making the U.S. market for bottled water the largest in the world.
- The energy required to make water bottles in the United States is equivalent to 17 million barrels of oil annually.
- Americans dispose of 3 million plastic drink bottles every hour.
- According to the Container Recycling Institute, 86 percent of plastic water bottles used in the United States become garbage or litter. Incinerating used bottles produces toxic byproducts such as chlorine gas and ash containing heavy metals.
- In 2006, the industry spent $162.8 million on advertising bottled water in the United States, according to ZenithOptimedia.
- Although in the industrial world bottled water is often no healthier than tap water, it can cost up to 10,000 times more. At as much as $10 per gallon, bottled water costs more than gasoline.
- Studies show that consumers associate bottled water with healthy living. But bottled water is not guaranteed to be any healthier than tap water. In fact, roughly 40 percent of bottled water begins as tap water; often the only difference is added minerals that have no marked health benefit.
- An NRDC study included testing of more than 1,000 bottles of 103 brands of bottled water. About one-third of the waters tested contained levels of contamination — including synthetic organic chemicals, bacteria, and arsenic — in at least one sample that exceeded allowable limits under either state or bottled water industry standards or guidelines.
- A key NRDC finding is that bottled water regulations are inadequate to assure consumers of either purity or safety, although both the federal government and the states have bottled water safety programs. At the national level, the Food and Drug Administration is responsible for bottled water safety, but the FDA’s rules completely exempt waters that are packaged and sold within the same state, which account for between 60 and 70 percent of all bottled water sold in the United States (roughly one out of five states don’t regulate these waters either). The FDA also exempts carbonated water and seltzer, and fewer than half of the states require carbonated waters to meet their own bottled water standards.
- Even when bottled waters are covered by the FDA’s rules, they are subject to less rigorous testing and purity standards than those which apply to city tap water.
http://www.iht.com/articles/2008/03/19/technology/rbogbottle.php http://www.nrdc.org/water/drinking/nbw.asp http//www.fda.gov/consumer/updates/bottledwater082508.html http://www.deq.state.ok.us/pubs/lpd/ard.pdf