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CONTACT: Food & Water Watch
Kate Fried or Rich McIntyre, Food & Water Watch (202) 683-2500
U.S Government Agencies Should Consider Taking Back the Tap
Statement of Wenonah Hauter, Executive Director, Food & Water Watch
WASHINGTON - February 5 - "Last week, Naturally Iowa, Inc, a distributor of bottled spring water and dairy products, announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture had chosen to carry its Green Bottle Spring Water products in all of its food service locations. According to the company, Green Bottle Spring Water ‘meets specifications for quality and environmental sustainability' because its bottle is made from corn, rather than oil.
"The fact is no brand of bottled water, no matter how it may be packaged, is actually environmentally sustainable. That is because water bottlers harm the environment by depleting aquifers and other groundwater sources. From California to Maine and Michigan to Florida, local citizen organizations are organizing to stop bottled water companies from removing millions of gallons of water from their local ecosystem. The very act of transporting water long distances uses large amounts of fossil fuel and has an adverse impact on the air and water.
"Moreover, growing corn has many environmental consequences. Not only is it a very thirsty crop that is dependent on irrigation and depletes groundwater, its growth requires heavy doses of fertilizers and herbicides. The majority of the corn produced in the U.S. is genetically modified, a method of agriculture that is not considered environmentally sustainable.
"USDA should look at the big picture regarding bottled water. In most locations, tap water is safer than bottled water because EPA requires municipalities to test their water hundreds of times a month. Meanwhile the FDA, which regulates bottled water, only requires that companies test four empty bottles once every three months for bacteria. They are not required to test after bottling or storage.
"Tap water is safe to drink in virtually all communities and if the USDA is concerned about water quality in some locations, the best option is to provide filtered water that can be put in refillable bottles. The truth is, the only truly sustainable water is the kind that requires no packaging or shipping at all and that's tap water."
Food & Water Watch is a national consumer advocacy organization based in Washington, DC. For more information, visit www.foodandwaterwatch.org.