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Marketing Bottled Water: The Joke is on Us

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Quoted in an article for the Japan Times, Tony Clarke of the Polaris Institute articulates the cyclical risk of our obsession with bottled water:

The bottled-water industry's marketing of 'safe, clean water' undermines citizen's confidence in public water systems, and paves the way for the water companies to take over underfunded local utilities. In return, public willingness to pay premium prices for bottled water enables water-service corporations to establish a top-dollar price.

The article also touches on the perception of bottled water as being "safer" than tap water:

"Several peer-reviewed scientific studies have found disturbing concentrations of toxic ingredients such as arsenic and mercury in their bottled-water samplings," warns Clarke, who adds that "bottling plants face inspections only once every three-to-six years depending on the country, and regulations governing tap water are often stricter than those governing bottled water.

And of course, the environmental effects of plastic bottle manufacture and disposal:

"These containers release highly dangerous toxic chemicals and contaminants into the air and water when they are manufactured, and again when they are burned or buried. Yet these same plastic packages are becoming the fastest-growing form of municipal solid waste in the U.S. and Canada," Clarke notes.

"The bottle-versus-the-tap debate" (Enviroblog 7.17.06)


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