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Golden Quill letter: Bottled water isn't necessarily better

To the Editor:

As a member of Food & Water Watch, the leading advocate for water and food safety, I agree that I have the right to clean, safe water and that it is time to blow the lid off bottled water.

The truth is that bottled water is no safer or cleaner than tap water. In fact, it may come from exactly the same source.

In 2005, Coca-Cola sold $346 million of its Dasani bottled water -- which was nothing more than filtered tap water in a plastic bottle. That same year, Nestle had nearly $200 million in sales of Poland Spring - which does not come from spring sources.

Multinational corporations also spread falsehoods about the safety of our tap water. Some facts about bottled water:

1. The chemicals used to soften plastic leach into bottled water and may cause cancer, birth defects and developmental problems in babies and children.

2. Unlike tap water, bottled water is not monitored by the federal government so you cannot be sure that it is safe. The federal government requires far more rigorous and safety testing of municipal drinking water than bottled water.

3. They also trash our environment. About 86 percent of plastic water bottles end up in landfills instead of being recycled. They sit there for centuries, their chemicals seeping into our water system and pose an unqualified environmental disaster.

4. Water companies drain our aquifers and other underground water sources for their own profit.

5. Bottled water is much more expensive. At $2 for a 20-ounce container, bottled water costs thousands of times more than tap water.

Americans spent almost $12 billion on bottled water in 2007 because they think that it is somehow safer or better than tap water. It is not.

We have some of the cleanest tap water in the world. We don't need bottled water.

Ray Anderson

River Falls