October 15, 2008

Study Finds Bottled Water Impure, Too

Health News Bottled Water Impure, Too, Study
(Oct. 15) - Tests on leading brands of
bottled water turned up a variety of
contaminants often found in tap water,
according to a study released Wednesday
by an environmental advocacy group.
The findings challenge the popular
impression — and marketing pitch — that
bottled water is purer than tap water, the
researchers say.
However, all the brands met federal
health standards for drinking water. Two
violated a California state standard, the
study said.
An industry group branded the findings
“alarmist.” Joe Doss, president of the
International Bottled Water Association,
said the study is based on the faulty
premise that a contaminant is a health
concern “even if it does not exceed the
established regulatory limit or no standard
has been set.”
The study’s lab tests on 10 brands of
bottled water detected 38 chemicals
including bacteria, caffeine, the pain
reliever acetaminophen, fertilizer,
solvents, plastic-making chemicals and
the radioactive element strontium.
Though some probably came from tap
water that some companies use for their
bottled water, other contaminants
probably leached from plastic bottles, the
researchers said.
“In some cases, it appears bottled water
is no less polluted than tap water and, at
1,900 times the cost, consumers should
expect better,” said Jane Houlihan, an
environmental engineer who co-authored
the study.
The two-year study was done by the
Washington-based Environmental
Working Group, an organization founded
by scientists that advocates stricter
regulation. It found the contaminants in
bottled water purchased in nine states
and Washington, D.C.
Researchers tested one batch for each of
10 brands. Eight did not have
contaminants high enough to warrant
further testing. But two brands did, so
more tests were done and those revealed
chlorine byproducts above California’s
standard, the group reported. The
researchers identified those two brands
as Sam’s Choice sold by Wal-Mart and
Acadia of Giant Food supermarkets.
In the Wal-Mart and Giant Food bottled
water, the highest concentration of
chlorine byproducts, known as
trihalomethanes, was over 35 parts per
billion. California’s limit is 10 parts per
billion or less, and the industry’s
International Bottled Water Association
makes 10 its voluntary guideline. The
federal limit is 80.
Wal-Mart said its own studies did not turn
up illegal levels of contaminants. Giant
Food officials released a statement
asserting that Acadia meets all regulatory
standards. Acadia is sold in the mid-
Atlantic states, so it isn't held to
California’s standard. In most places,
bottled water must meet roughly the same
federal standards as tap water.
The researchers also said the Wal-Mart
brand was five times California’s limit for
one particular chlorine byproduct,
bromodichloromethane. The
environmental group wants Wal-Mart to
label its bottles in California with a
warning because the chlorine-based
contaminants have been linked with
cancer. It has filed a notice of intent to
Wal-Mart spokeswoman Shannon
Frederick said the company was
“puzzled” by the findings because testing
by suppliers and another lab had detected
no “reportable amounts” of such
contaminants. She said Wal-Mart would
investigate further but defended the
quality of its bottled water.
The researchers recommend that people
worried about water contaminants drink
tap water with a carbon filter.


Dannelle said...

ah heck...wonder if our uranium content is down...Dannelle

Beth said...

I've read that a lot of bottle water is simply bottled TAP water. We stopped buying bottled water because of the plastic it uses (although we recycle). We have well water, which tastes just fine to me!


Joyce said...

I'm sorry, but I'm not paying a buck and a quarter for a drink of water. I guess I'm just tight, but I've always thought that was rediculous (whether is purer or not). I've been drinking tap water for 62 years now and it hasn't hurt me a bit. My Granny used to say "We're all gonna eat a peck of dirt before we die"...meaning, leave the kids alone in the dirt 'cause it's not gonna hurt 'em. LOL.
Hugs, Joyce