Bottled water has contaminants too, researchers say


The label may picture a pristine mountain stream or a bubbling spring, but bottled water's squeaky-clean image doesn't show the big picture: the contaminants that may be hidden in every swig. A two-year study by the Washington-based Environmental Working Group, an organization founded by scientists that advocates stricter regulation, found contaminants in bottled water purchased in nine states and Washington, D.C.



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 International Bottled Water Association objects that the study portrays the presence of contaminants at levels below regulatory limits as a concern. Getting their money's worth is everyone's concern these days, however, and paying more than 1000 times more for a product that doesn't live up to its marketing just doesn't make sense. If consumers aren't getting ultra-pure water for that price, then they must be paying for the paper-thin image of a green environment. Switching to filtered tap water, as the scientists in the study recommend, will go a long way towards actually preserving our natural resources.



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Read the complete article from the Associated Press.


Tags: Water contaminants, Water preservation, Water quality

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