Pacific Swell | Southern California environment news and trends

The secret life of bottled water (It’s scarier than you think)

Water may be everywhere, but just how many drops can we drink? A new book from journalist Charles Fishman uncovers some of the secrets of our planet’s most precious resource, looking at the long-term ramifications of how we treat water. Recently, Patt Morrison spoke with Fishman about his new study, The Big Thirst: The Secret Life and Turbulent Future of Water. (Listen to the entire interview here.)

 In The Big Thirst, Fishman takes on some of the mythologies and misunderstandings of water in this world. Did you know that each of us uses 250 gallons a day person just for electricity to run our households? But what we learn about bottled water is perhaps most distressing. As Fishman points out, the quality of your bottled water is likely less than what comes out of your tap.

“Tap water monitored much more closely than bottled water,” Fishman tells Patt Morrison, “The truth is that your tap water is as safe as or safer than your bottled water.” Nonetheless, Americans buy 29 billion single-serve bottles of water every year. Only around a quarter of those bottled get recycled. Some American towns, such as Concord, Massachusetts, have even banned the sale of bottled water.

The problems swirling around bottled water are further exposed by director Stephanie Soechtig in her award-winning documentary, Tapped. Along with the producers of Who Killed the Electric Car and I.O.U.S.A., Soechtig reveals bottled water as a double threat. As Soechtig discloses, the bottled water industry is essentially claiming ownership of water supplies across the country while placing water into containers that may have adverse effects on our health and definitely have adverse effects on the environment.

Meanwhile, just one person at the FDA is responsible for overseeing all of the regulation of bottled water in the country.

See more information on Tapped here

Image: klearchos/Flickr