Published on: October 15, 2008USA Today has a story this morning saying that a two-year study conducted by an organization called the Environmental Working Group has concluded that a number of leading brands of bottled waters contain “a variety of contaminants, including cancer-linked chemicals three times higher than California's health standard.”
The paper reports, “Researchers tested one batch for each of 10 brands. Eight of those did not have troubling levels of contaminants. But two brands did, so more tests were done and those revealed chlorine byproducts above California's standard. The researchers identified those two brands as Sam's Choice sold by Wal-Mart and Acadia of Giant Food supermarkets.
The organization reportedly plans to sue Walmart under the California state law that allows such a suit to be filed. The Arcadia brand is not sold in California, so no suit is currently planned in this case.
“The other eight, which researchers didn't identify, carried legal levels of many contaminants. Some of those chemicals, like arsenic and the solvent toluene, have been tied to health risks. Some of the contaminants apparently came from pollutants often found in tap water, and others probably leached from plastic bottles, the researchers said.”
According to the story, “all the brands met federal health standards for drinking water. And most of the detected contaminants are common in tap water, too. Lab tests detected 38 chemicals in 10 brands, with an average of eight contaminants found in each kind of bottled water. Tests showed coliform bacteria, caffeine, the pain reliever acetaminophen, fertilizer, solvents, plastic-making chemicals and the radioactive element strontium.”
- KC's View:
- Don't know about you, but the first thing this story did was make me question federal standards for tap water…because on the face of it, that sounds like an awful lot of crap coming through the pipes.
While manufacturers might not agree with me on this one, I also think that it hardly serves any purpose at all to say that eight bottled water brands contain contaminants – even if at legal and non-troubling levels – and then not identify them. It sort of tars the entire bottled water business with a broad brush without being specific about the brands involved.