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E-M:/ Bottled Water report

Enviro-Mich message from "Mike Leahy" <MLeahy@Defender.Defenders.org>

Of relevance to the Perrier proposal; I forget if anything on this 
report has been posted on this list yet or not, apologies if so:

Right to Water (right-to-water@iatp.org)    Posted: 05/04/2001  By  

3 May, 2001 WWF International http://panda.org/ 

The real cost of bottled water 

Gland, Switzerland - In light of a new independent study WWF, the
conservation organization, is urging people to drink tap water, 
which is often as good as bottled water, for the benefit of the 
environment and their wallets.

According to the study, Bottled Water: Understanding a social 
phenomenon, commissioned by WWF, bottled water may be no 
safer, or healthier than tap water in many countries while selling for 
up to 1000 times the price. Yet, it is the fastest growing drinks 
industry in the world and is estimated to be worth US$22 billion 

The study reveals that the bottled water market is partly fuelled by
concerns over the safety of municipal water and by the marketing 
of many brands which portray them as being drawn from pristine 
sources and as being healthier than tap water. However, some 
bottled waters only differ from tap water in the fact that they are 
distributed in bottles rather than through pipes. In fact there are 
more standards regulating tap water in Europe and
the US than those applied to the bottled water industry.

"Our attitudes towards tap water are being shaped by the pollution 
which is
choking the rivers and streams which should be veins of life," 
Richard Holland, Director of WWF's Living Waters Campaign. "We 
must clean
up and properly protect these waters at source, and not just at the
treatment works, so that we can all rest easy in drinking from the 

The study acknowledges that while bottled water has the 
advantage of being
generally safer in areas where tap water may be contaminated, 
boiling or
filtering local water renders it safe at a much lower cost for people 
on a
low income. However, according to the United Nations Food and 
Organization (FAO), in terms of nutritional value, bottled water is no
better than tap water. It may contain small amounts of minerals but 
so does
tap water from many public municipal water supplies.

Some consumers prefer bottled water to tap water for taste 
reasons. WWF
argues that water companies have an important responsibility to 
ensure that
they consistently produce water that is not only safe but also 
pleasant to

The study also finds that every year 1.5 million tons of plastic are 
to bottle water. Toxic chemicals can be released into the 
during the manufacture and disposal of the bottles. Furthermore, a 
of the 89 billion litres of water bottled worldwide annually are 
outside their country of origin. Emissions of the green house gas 
dioxide, caused by transporting bottled water within and between 
contribute to the global problem of climate change. 

"Bottled water isn't a long term sustainable solution to securing 
access to
healthy water," said Richard Holland. "Clean water is a basic right.
Protecting our rivers, streams and wetlands will help ensure that 
tap water
remains a service which delivers good quality drinking water for 
at a fair price."

To see an articlle titled 'Bottled Water: Understanding A Social
Phenomenon' go to 

This independently produced discussion paper, commissioned by 
WWF, aims to
provide background information on bottled water and the bottled 
water world
market, in order to understand the reasons behind a trend that has 
become a
social phenomenon. It identifies existing types of bottled water, 
the bottled water industry, and looks at market trends into the 
future. It
then attempts to identify the major reasons why consumers 
choose to buy
expensive bottled water, rather than drink tap water. Proceeding to 
a close
with an analysis on the impact this industry has had on the 

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Mike Leahy 
Natural Resources Counsel
Defenders of Wildlife
1101 14th St. NW #1400
Washington, DC  20005-5605
(202) 682-9400 x263 Fax: (202) 682-1331

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