Jennifer Mueller: 202-797-6553
Consumer Group Encourages AmericansĀ@to Take Back the Tap
New Food & Water Watch Report Highlights Problems with Bottled Water
Washington, DC ‚Äď Choosing tap water over bottled water is better for consumers‚Äô health, their pocketbooks, and the environment, according to a new report released today by Food & Water Watch. The report is being released on the heals of a San Francisco executive order banning the use of city funds for bottled water and a U.S. Conference of Mayors resolution to study problems with bottled water consumption.
In 2005, Americans spent $8.8 billion for almost 7.2 billion gallons of non-sparkling bottled water.¬† Consumers drank even more in 2006, about 26 gallons per person. The bottled water industry spends billions on advertising that promises purity in a bottle while implying that tap water is somehow less safe, something that is simply not true, according to the report.
‚ÄúBottled water generally is no cleaner, or safer, or healthier than tap water. In fact, the federal government requires far more rigorous and frequent safety testing and monitoring of municipal drinking water,‚ÄĚ said Food & Water Watch Executive Director Wenonah Hauter. ‚ÄúRather than buying into this myth of purity in a bottle, consumers should drink from the tap.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúUtilities all over the country spend millions of dollars to deliver clean, safe, affordable water right to the kitchen sink,‚ÄĚ said Susan Leal, San Francisco Public Utilities Commission General Manager. ‚ÄúRelying on bottles that use lots of energy to produce and are sometimes trucked or even flown thousands of miles and ultimately become a municipal solid waste problem just makes no sense,‚ÄĚ concluded Leal.
But just kicking the bottle in favor of the tap is not enough, says Food & Water Watch. Our nation‚Äôs public water and sewer infrastructure is old and in the coming years will need billions of dollars of investment to maintain and further improve treatment, storage, and distribution. Each year we fall more than $20 billion short of what is needed to maintain our public water and sewage systems.
‚ÄúIt‚Äôs time for Congress to establish a clean water trust fund that would give communities the financial help they need to invest in healthy and safe drinking water for every American and for future generations,‚ÄĚ Hauter said.
The United States maintains trust funds for highways, airports, and social security.¬† Providing a dedicated funding stream for national priorities is sound public policy, explained Bill Holman, former executive director of the Clean Water Management Trust Fund and former secretary of the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources. "The North Carolina Clean Water Management Trust Fund has sparked innovative, community-based solutions to protect and restore water resources in North Carolina. A national clean water trust fund would provide similar benefits," said Holman.
Food & Water Watch is encouraging consumers to Take Back the Tap by choosing tap water over bottled water whenever possible and supporting increased funding for safe and affordable public tap water.
Among the facts highlighted in Food & Water Watch‚Äôs report, titled Take Back the Tap, are the following:
¬†¬†¬† * Bottled water costs hundreds or thousands of times more than tap water. Compare $0.002 per gallon for most tap water to a range of $0.89 to $8.26 per gallon for bottled waters.
¬†¬†¬† * The Food and Drug Administration regulates only the 30 to 40 percent of bottled water sold across state lines.
¬†¬†¬† * The Environmental Protection Agency requires up to several hundred water tests per month by utility companies while the FDA requires only one water test per week by bottling companies.
¬†¬†¬† * Nearly 40 percent of bottled water is simply filtered or treated tap water.
¬†¬†¬† * U.S. plastic bottle production requires more than 1.5 million barrels of oil annually, enough to fuel 100,000 cars.
¬†¬†¬† * About 86 percent of the empty plastic water bottles in the United States land in the garbage instead of being recycled.
The report is posted at http://www.foodandwaterwatch.org/water/pubs/reports/take-back-the-tap¬† Individuals can pledge to Take Back the Tap at http://www.foodandwaterwatch.org/water/bottled
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Food & Water Watch is a nonprofit consumer rights group based in Washington, D.C. that challenges the corporate control and abuse of our food and water resources. Visit www.foodandwaterwatch.or