March 16-22, 2006
Naked City : ArticleFaucet if You've Got It
City Paper: So I've always thought that bottled water was safer than tap water. Am I to understand I've been misled?
Daniel Favre: Actually, water bottling is one of the least regulated industries. Studies have shown that bottled water is sometimes less safe than tap water, with higher levels of arsenic and bacteria. In 2004, Coke was required to recall about a half million bottles of Dasani in the U.K. due to elevated levels of bromide, a known carcinogen.
CP: So you're telling me tap water is, like, good for you?
DF: Tap water is largely very safe. Philadelphia tap water is great.
CP: For real?
DF: It's highly regulated. There's a lot of quality control. It's really the frequency of the checks [that makes the difference]. FDA rules for bottled water stipulates that plants are checked every three years. EPA rules for water quality are stricter tests are often done daily.
CP: But what about taste?
DF: Sometimes tap water and bottled water do taste different. But the bottled water corporations are spending millions of dollars to portray their products as healthier and safer than tap water. Besides, there's a lot more to the issue than just taste. People are paying a whole lot for that deception and that taste. Corporations are charging up to 10,000 times the cost of the water that they're using. About a quarter of all bottled water is just tap water, taken from the same sources as municipal water supplies.
CP: How do you feel about Evian and Perrier? They come from a spring.
DF: It's still a corporate control of water. We believe that water should not be bought and sold.
CP: So here in America the water is generally safe to drink from the tap. But what are the options in the developing world?
DF: We definitely believe all people need to have access to healthy, clean drinking water. In some cases there are temporary problems. But the thing about bottled water, it's really expensive and is not a substitute for a publicly owned water infrastructure. Resources need to go to the improvement of local water systems.
CP: What do you hope people will take away from these taste tests?
DF: That water is becoming an industry, a $400 billion industry. And that water is a basic human right and should not be bought and sold for profit.
For more information visit www.stopcorporateabuse.org.