March 7th, 2013 - Jill Ettinger
According to analysis conducted by the Environmental Working Group on U.S. water quality tests conducted in 2011, toxic chemicals called trihalomethanes were found to be contaminating virtually all of the tap water samples tested.
Read More:Toxic Drinking Water in 43 States, Affecting 100 Million Americans
June 28th, 2010 - Barbara Feiner
Ever try to light your tap water on fire?
Josh Fox has witnessed the phenomenon firsthand (see photo, above).
The filmmaker chronicles the largest natural gas drilling boom in U.S. history in his documentary GasLand—and the environmental ramifications aren’t pretty. The film premiered on HBO last week and will air through 2012. (Click here to view the trailer.)
The film’s genesis was Fox’s discovery that natural gas drilling was about to start in the Catskills/Poconos region of New York and Pennsylvania, where he lives. He was offered $100,000 to sign over drilling rights to his land.
Fox traveled to 24 states to expose how Dick Cheney’s pals at Halliburton developed a new drilling system called “fracking” (hydraulic fracturing), which may permanently contaminate the country’s water supply and worsen air pollution.
Chronically ill residents in drilling areas shared common symptoms and discovered that an urban legend held true: They could light fires straight from the faucet.
Drilling-related pools of toxic waste were also killing cattle and vegetation. Oil-well blowouts and gas explosions regularly occurred, only to be covered up by officials.
Not an HBO subscriber? A 2010 Sundance Film Festival award winner, GasLand will be available on DVD in December.
Photo courtesy of International WOW Company
Read More:HBO Documentary Exposes Natural Gas in Water Supply
July 15th, 2009 - Laura Klein
Water has gone to Washington.
The Environmental Working Group presented an 18-month study to a congressional oversight hearing about the gaps in government regulation of the bottled water industry.
Summing up the problem nicely is Wenonah Hauter, executive director of the non-profit consumer advocacy group Food & Water Watch:
“The Bottled water industry’s strategy has been to market bottled water as the safe and clean alternative to tap water…This myth has been used to trick consumers into paying thousands times more for a product that is the same or even more polluted than the water available from our faucets. Tap water in the United States undergoes rigorous testing for contaminants—as often as 480 times a month, far more than the once–a–week test for bottled water.”
FDA vs. EPA
Under the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, bottled water companies have complete latitude to choose what, if any, information to divulge to consumers about their water.
Compare that to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) — the federal agency that oversees the nation’s municipal water utilities. All 52,000 nationwide community tap water suppliers need to produce an annual water quality report detailing the water source and pollutant testing results, as required under the Safe Drinking Water Act. (Although tap water does come with its own set of problems…)
Watered Down Labels
Furthermore, EWG researchers analyzed labels and websites from 188 bottled waters to learn which bottlers voluntarily disclosed the same information as required of community water suppliers. EWG found that many disclose little to no information at all on water source and purity.
What You Can Do
To sum it up, aqua junkies, I suggest that you:
- Buy a sturdy reusable water bottle which will save the on plastic waste and save you money
- Install a high quality water filtration system in your home
If you have to buy bottled, make it one that counts, like:
- Ethos: Available at Starbucks, this company gives .05 of every bottle to humanitarian water programs around the globe.
- Park City Ice Water: Uses 75% less energy to produce packaging than its counterparts
- Project 7: 50% of sales go to one of 7 critical areas including feeding the hungry, healing the sick, etc.
- Keeper Springs: Robert Kennedy’s own, all profits go to the environment
Read More:Tap vs Bottled Water, Which is Safer?