January 30, 2010

Buyer Beware: Water in Boxes - But It's Just Tap Water (Like Dasani and Aquafina)

In response to the ecological impact all those bottled water plastic bottles have (they even have television commercials about this now), there's an innovative company over in Great Britain that has come up with a great new packaging gimmick:  they're selling water in BOXES.  You know, like milk and juice.  And wine.

Sounds like a smart thing, right? Well, that's until you learn that what they are packaging in the boxed water is just treated tap water.  London tap water, to be specific.  Just like Coca-Cola does with Dasani and Pepsi-Cola does with Aquafina.

So, while the box may solve the plastic issue, it's not doing much for the contents debate - the water itself.

In a study done by the Environmental Working Group of  the top 10 bottled waters sold, lots of bad things were found. Two of them were no different than tap water in their components. One had levels of bromodichloromethane at levels exceeding the legal limits for cancer-causing chemicals under California law, and EWG was planning to sue on that one. There was more bad stuff, too, in the other bottled waters - not one of them was found to be as promised on the package: clean, pure, safe. 

What About Your Own Tap Water?

Call your local water company (get the phone number on your bill) and ask them for their annual water quality report.  Under law, every water provider must check the contents of their water supply and then complete a report that details what they've found.  And you're entitled to see that report.

You can also check comparison studies of city tap water like the one using data collected by EWA and see where your town's water supply is listed.  I was happy to see that San Antonio, Texas, was number 7  --  one of the leaders in water quality.  Good news!!!
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