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2008 Bottled Water News



December, 2008

Crystal Springs bottled water company acquires Blue Ridge Mountain Water

Crystal Springs has acquired substantially all of the assets of Blue Ridge Mountain Water, Inc. and its affiliates, according to a news release. Combining these resources with its own, Crystal Springs will expand its home and office bottled water delivery service further into the greater Atlanta area and additional Georgia communities, including a new branch in Calhoun, GA, the release said. No financial details were provided. For more than 80 years, Crystal Springs has delivered the water to homes and offices across the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic. The source of Crystal Springs can be found in the Chattahoochee National Forest, within the woodlands west of Ocala, Florida, or from deep in the earth near Lancaster, Pennsylvania. News Release/PRWEB_ 12/22/08

Toronto, Canada bans plastic water bottles

Toronto City Council voted on Tuesday to ban the sale of plastic water bottles on all municipal premises from City Hall to golf courses by 2011. Stuart Green, spokesman for Toronto Mayor David Miller, said the plastic-water-bottle ban, along with other measures, is all part of the city's plan to divert 70 per cent of Toronto's waste from the dump by 2010. According to the Polaris Institute 17 municipalities from 5 Canadian provinces have banned the bottle, while another 45 municipalities are planning restrictions on bottled water. Canwest News Service_ 12/3/08

November, 2008

U.S. House of Representatives bans plastic bottles, switches to biodegradable

In an effort to be more environmentally friendly in its cafeterias, the House has replaced the traditional bottled water, made of oil based plastic, that will sit in a landfill for more than a hundred years, with bottles that biodegrade in less than 12 weeks. The spring water from Virgina-based Grand Springs will be sold only in biodegradable containers made from corn by the Iowa-based company Naturally Iowa. The new water containers will be thrown into the compost stream of the capitol's food waste resulting in no negative effect on the environment. Huntington News Network_ 11/21/08

Contamination found in some Irish bottled water

A draft report by the government's food safety watchdog-- a copy of which has been seen by the Irish Independent -- reveals that harmful bacteria, including E coli, have been found in bottled waters on sale throughout the country. Environmental health officers found 7.2 percent of bottled waters they sampled for the report were in breach of either legal or EU guidelines. They also found that one-in-every-11 samples of Irish-produced water tested positive for contaminants -- compared to just one in every 119 imported brand samples tested. Last night the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) refused to explain why the results of the tests, which were completed almost a year ago, had yet to be published. The Independent_ 11/17/08

Japan firm recalls 8 million bottles of US mineral water; Storage problem apparently causes bad smell

A Japanese firm recalled eight million bottles of U.S. mineral water Monday after consumers complained it smelled like insecticide and medicine. Otsuka Beverage Co Ltd, which is unlisted, said it is recalling the Crystal Geyser mineral water after receiving 75 complaints in October about its smell. Spokesman Kazuhiko Horiuchi said the firm did not find any abnormalities in the water, but the plastic bottles may have absorbed smells to which they were exposed during storage. He said no one had been made ill and the company saw no health effects. The water's manufacturer, San Francisco-based CG Roxane LLC said that no Crystal Geyser water sold in the United States had the odor problem, which it said occurred at some point after manufacturing. Last month, Kirin Beverage, part of Japanese brewer Kirin Holdings Co Ltd recalled over half a million bottles of French mineral water Volvic after finding some of it smelled like paint. Reuters_ 11/17/08

Australian Dental Association backs plan to add fluoride to bottled water

Food Standards Australia is seeking comment on a proposal that would allow beverage manufacturers to voluntarily add the chemical to bottled water. The federal president of the Australian Dental Association, Dr John Matthews, says it is a good proposal, because fewer people are drinking tap water. Radio Australia_ 11/12/08

Coca-Cola may soon use water from Oregon's Willamette River for Dasani

Coca-Cola Bottling of Oregon plans a $35 million expansion of its plant to include Dasani water. Some cities, including Seattle and San Francisco, have banned city purchases of the single-serve water. So far, Portland has not. Dasani filters the city water and uses a reverse osmosis process to remove most of the minerals and "impurities," said Dora Wong, spokeswoman for Coca-Cola Bottling of Oregon. The company then adds its own mix of minerals. Portland Oregonian_ 11/9/08

October, 2008

Scientific panel faults FDA on stance that bisphenol-A in plastic is safe

A scientific panel has issued a blistering report against the Food and Drug Administration, saying it ignored important evidence in reassuring consumers about the safety of the controversial chemical bisphenol-A. The panel, in a report issued this week, did not draw any conclusions about the safety of the chemical, known as BPA. But it criticized the drug agency as ignoring crucial studies and using what it said were flawed methods in reaching its conclusions. The agency’s evaluation of BPA “creates a false sense of security” and “overlooks a wide range of potentially serious findings,” the report said. In a statement, the agency said that the report “raised important questions” and that more study was needed, but it did not back away from its claim that the chemical was safe. It will review the report on Friday. BPA is widely used to make hard, clear plastic water bottles and baby bottles, and it is found in the lining of nearly every soft drink and canned food product. The chemical appears to have estrogen-like effects, and in animal studies it appears to accelerate puberty and pose a cancer risk. While most worries about BPA focus on children, some reports suggest BPA may interfere with chemotherapy, and in adults the chemical has been tied to higher risk for heart disease and diabetes. The drug agency has said the levels of BPA to which children and adults are exposed do not pose a meaningful risk. New York Times_ 10/29/08 (logon required)

In response, the International Bottled Water Association issuede a "position statement" which said, in part, "polycarbonate plastic is used in a wide variety of consumer products, including food and drink containers. Many 3- and 5-gallon bottled water containers are made of polycarbonate plastic and consumers can remain confident about the safety of these products." Read the full statement. News Release_ 10/30/08

Bottled water may be no purer than tap water: Environmental Group Study

Bottled water sold in markets and convenience stores may be no more free of pollutants than the water that pours from the kitchen tap at a fraction of the cost, said an environmental group that tested samples.  Ten top-selling brands of bottled water contained a total of 38 pollutants including fertilizer, industrial chemicals, bacteria and the residue of drugs such as Tylenol, according to a report by the Environmental Working Group based in Washington, D.C. The bottled water showed an average of eight pollutants in each sample. ``If you're going to pay 1,500 times more for bottled water than for tap you'd expect that you'd be getting a cleaner, better product,'' said Renee Sharp, an Environmental Working Group senior scientist. ``And that's not necessarily true.''  Public water utilities are required to inform customers about contaminants that may be present in tap water and, in most states, to tell customers where the water comes from and how it's purified. Companies selling bottled water have few similar rules, Sharp said.  California, which has stricter standards than most states, requires companies to disclose whether bottled water comes from municipal water systems and also to warn consumers about contaminants that may pose health risks. ``But even in California, consumers still can't be assured they're getting a better product'' than they could get from their kitchen sink, Sharp said.  Bloomberg_10/15/08

Nestle Waters North America steamed about Miami, Florida tap water ads

In the radio ad, a talking faucet extols Miami-Dade's tap water as cheaper, purer and safer than bottled water. Nestle Waters North America, which makes nearly $4 billion a year selling Zephyrhills and other brands, is threatening to sue if the county doesn't kill commercials the company brands as false advertising. ''It's an attack on the integrity of the company,'' said Nestle spokesman Jim McClellan. ``It's an attack on the product we produce -- and it's blatantly wrong." With the ads ending a five-week run last month and no plans to revive it, the county considers the legal issues moot. Environmentalists blasted the threat against the state's largest utility -- believed to be a first -- as a warning shot from an industry worried about slow sales after years of gushing growth. McClellan said Nestle -- which contacted The Miami Herald to publicize its complaint -- has never challenged utilities hawking tap water as cheap and safe. But Miami-Dade, he argued, had stepped over the line in besmirching bottled water. Miami Herald_ 10/13/08

Southern Maine awash in water wars

Water may be the new environmental battleground in Maine. There is increasing opposition to efforts by Poland Spring and its parent company, Nestle, to tap new sources for its bottled water plants. People in the York county towns of Newfield and Shapleigh are the latest to organize. They believe Poland Spring and Nestle want to pump water from under the Vernon Walker Wildlife management Area, a 4,000 acre reserve that covers the two towns. Activists in the community said the company has placed a number of test wells within the management area over the past three years. WCSH6_ 10/12/08

Bottled water company to launch refund program in Canada

Waste targeted

A leading Canadian supplier of bottled water says it will voluntarily introduce a refundable, half-litre plastic bottle and it's hoping other large multinational rivals will follow its example.  Mississauga-based Canadian Springs says it will start collecting a 25-cent deposit on all 500 ml bottles as of Jan. 1.  The company, formerly known as Crystal Springs, said the deposit-for-refund system is the best method of reducing waste and that its customers would gladly participate.  The Star_10/2/08

September, 2008

FDA proposes bottled water regulation amendments to protect against E.coli

Under the federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, FDA is required to issue a standard of quality regulation for fecal pathogen contaminants in bottled water. As such, its latest rulemaking FDA proposal includes requirements to ensure that source water, which is currently subject to weekly microbiological testing, be tested specifically for total coliform as is done for finished bottled water products; require bottled water manufacturers to test for the bacterium Escherichia coli (E. coli), an indicator of fecal contamination, if any coliform organisms are detected in source water or finished bottled water products and require bottlers to rectify or eliminate the source of E. coli contamination in source water and keep records of such actions. FDA tentatively concludes that this proposed rule, if finalized, will ensure that its standards for the minimum quality of bottled water, as affected by fecal contamination, will be no less protective of the public health than those set by EPA for public drinking water. Occupational Health and Safety_ 9/22/08

Download pdf of the full proposed FDA regulation

Shapleigh, Maine voters block Poland Spring  water plans

Shapleigh voters overwhelmingly adopted a six-month moratorium on testing or large-scale extraction of water in town today, crimping the plans of bottler Poland Spring. At a special town meeting, residents voted 204 to 38 in favor of the moratorium, which is intended to give the town time to work on an ordinance to regulate water testing and large-scale pumping. Voters also shot down a proposal for an agreement between the town and Poland Spring that would have given the water bottler access to town land on Mann Road for testing. That proposal was defeated 183-49, averting a confusing situation that could have developed if voters had approved both the moratorium and the agreement with the company. Mark Dubois, natural resource manager for Poland Spring, said the company understands that residents want to come up with an ordinance on water resources, but added the vote doesn't necessarily mean the company won't continue to pursue Shapleigh's water if that ordinance allows large-scale extraction. Maine Today_ 9/20/08

International Bottled Water Association offers ‘olive branch’ to critics Staff Report

September 16, 2008

Republish this story at no cost; click here for details

The International Bottled Water Association is asking its critics to join it in working for solutions to environmental issues such as recycling, protecting watersheds and improving municipal infrastructure. The “informal olive branch” was extended to five environmental groups in an article written by IBWA Vice President for Communications Tom Lauria. The article, titled “An Open Letter to Environmentalists,” appears in the August/September 2008 industry publication Bottled Water Reporter. The IBWA is the trade association representing the bottled water industry. According to the Sept. 15 IBWA news release, copies of Lauria’s article were sent to the presidents of the Sierra Club, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Environmental Working Group, Clean Water Action and Food and Water Watch.

(Read the full story)

Stainless-steel water bottles; awash in sales

Ruth Elliott once thought nothing of carrying her drinking water in a Nalgene polycarbonate bottle, the plastic container that many bikers, hikers and babies use. But she began to notice more people in her Santa Cruz, Calif., neighborhood transporting their H2O in sleek stainless-steel receptacles. Early this year she joined the growing cadre of metal toters when she plunked down $25.95 for a 40-oz. (1.2 L) stainless bottle. What swayed Elliott, 32, was Canada's decision in late 2007 to reassess a substance found in polycarbonate — bisphenol A (BPA), an estrogen mimicker linked to several medical conditions and diseases. That the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced in a draft report on Aug. 15 that the trace amounts of BPA found in polycarbonate containers do not pose a threat to infants or adults mattered not a whit to Elliott, or to the many others who have heeded the advice of some experts who disagree with the FDA. (Canada has announced it will ban the import and sale of polycarbonate baby bottles.) The groundswell of demand has helped producers of stainless bottles experience a huge surge in sales, seemingly overnight. But the switch has also created its own set of management, environment and trade issues for the lucky manufacturers. Time_ 9/15/08

Fake sacred Zam Zam water 'poses danger'

Muslims observing Ramadan have been urged to avoid bottled water which may contain high levels of poison arsenic. Sacred Zam Zam water originates from Saudi Arabia and cannot be exported from the country for commercial sale. Zam Zam is traditionally drunk by pilgrims for its healing properties and during the holy period of Ramadan. Environmental health officers in Luton have warned that bottles for sale that are labelled as Zam Zam water are of unknown origin and pose a risk. BBC News_ 9/3/08

Coke introduces Dasani water in Uganda

Century Bottling Company, bottlers of Coca-Cola products in Uganda has officially launched Dasani as its flagship brand in the drinking water industry in Uganda. Although Dasani has been in Uganda since 2006, Century Bottling, now say that they will go head-on against other brands in the market. This adds to the stiff competition and saturation in the drinking water industry that has for long been dominated by Rwenzori Mineral Water. Ms Moreen Kyomuhendo, Century’s spokesperson said the company has secured a reliable supply based in Mwanza, Tanzania and this will guarantee a steady supply of the product to the Ugandan market. Daily Monitor_ 9/1/08

August, 2008

Nestlé gets OK to bottle more Michigan water
Nestlé's controversial Ice Mountain water bottling plant won new state permits Thursday to expand production.  The approval was given after the Department of Environmental Quality determined the company's new well near Evart, and a pipeline to be built beneath wetlands in Osceola County, will not harm streams or wetlands.  Nestlé already draws water from four existing wells near its Stanwood bottling plant in west central Michigan at an average rate of 218 gallons per minute. The new well will be able to pump at 150 gallons per minute. The firm also gets water from two former city wells in Evart. The company's latest request does not fall under new legislation designed to restrict large water withdrawals from the Great Lakes basin. Passed this summer, that law doesn't kick in fully until next February. However, even if the law had been in effect, Nestlé's new well would still have been approved, said DEQ spokesman Bob McCann. "I understand the debate about bottled water, but our job is to apply the law," he said.  Detroit Free Press_8/29/08

Poland Springs responds to water extraction opposition

Displaced hysteria?

Several municipalities across southern Maine have begun to take steps in opposition to bottled water, either by proposing moratoriums or passing proclamations criticizing it as environmentally harmful. The opposition has surprised officials at Maine's big bottled water player, Poland Spring, which has responded by increasing its public-relations efforts and saying it might have to leave the state to develop new water sources. "We don't want to do that, but we may be forced to," said Poland Spring Natural Resource Director Mark Dubois, who handles site development out of the company's headquarters in Poland Spring. "We're going to go where we can do business. We're going to go where people look at facts, not emotions."  At least three York County towns will put the issue before voters this fall to consider ordinances that tighten regulations for large-scale water extraction. "It's definitely a new paradigm," said Dubois, who has been working at Poland Spring for four years. "Water is an emotional issue, but this is displaced hysteria." Portland Press Herald_8/28/08

Denver pours cold water on plastic problem

When Democratic National Convention delegates, protesters and gawkers are looking for a cool drink, Denver Water will have it. The city's water utility — combining the finest in beer-keg and dairy-milking technology — has built the Denver Water Trailer. The $42,000 trailer was to carry 200 gallons of cold — 42 degrees Fahrenheit — water at events from the media kickoff party Saturday at Elitch Gardens to Invesco Field at Mile High on the day of Barack Obama's acceptance speech. The trailer is the brainchild of a group at Denver Water looking for a way to provide an "environmentally friendly" service at big outdoor events. "There are always lots and lots of plastic water bottles in the litter after a big concert," said Terri Chavez, a Denver Water community-relations specialist. "So the idea was to reduce that." The trailer was made by Johnson Truck Bodies, a Wisconsin refrigerated-truck firm. So now, convention delegates, who will each receive a water bottle, will be able to top it off at the water trailer. There will also be biodegradable paper cups available. Denver Post/Yahoo_ 8/23/08

Montreal picks recycling over ban on plastic water bottles
Montreal city hall has ruled out a ban on single-use plastic water bottles, advocating instead for a deposit-based system to boost recycling rates and encouraging employees to lead by example.  Unlike Montreal, Toronto's city hall is considering banning bottled water in municipal buildings, following a similar move last week from the municipality of London, Ont. Leader Post_8/21/08

Separating Canadian bottled water from the rest

A new campaign for a Canadian bottled water aims to educate the public about this resource and differentiate it from other waters. The campaign, for ESKA natural spring water, features a new bilingual Web site, plus print, outdoor and online advertising, all created by the Toronto office of Zig, a unit of MDC Partners. A privately held company whose sole investor is Morgan Stanley Principal Investments, Eaux Vives has been selling ESKA in Quebec since the end of 2006 and in Ontario for the last month; it is priced at $1 (U.S.) for a 500-milliliter, or 16-ounce, single bottle. ESKA comes from rain and snow that has trickled through an esker, or ridge of gravel, deposited in the Abitibi-Temiscaming region of northwestern Quebec by glacial meltwater. “The point of the campaign is that ESKA is a purer water, that not all bottled waters are the same, and that these are questions worth thinking about,” said Shelley Brown, director of strategic planning for Zig, adding that the advertising is designed for “the kind of consumer who reads labels at the grocery store." Besides describing the various types of bottled waters available in Canada, ESKA’s new Web site discusses plastics used in bottles, health and other water-related issues. New York Times_ 8/4/08 (logon required)

July, 2008

Nestle Waters North America contributes bottled water to Hurricane Dolly relief effort

Nestle Waters North America has donated 222,234 half-liter bottles of Ozarka® Brand Natural Spring Water to citizens and disaster relief workers affected by last week's Category 2 Hurricane Dolly. AmeriCares and the American Red Cross, along with local, on-the-ground agencies, are distributing the donations throughout the region. The first hurricane to strike the U.S. since September 2007, Hurricane Dolly hit Southeastern Texas on Wednesday, July 23, bringing severe rain and wind. Hundreds of homes were damaged or destroyed, forcing residents to evacuate. Governor Rick Perry declared 14 south Texas counties disaster areas as a result of the storm. "One of the most important needs right now is clean water for the citizens affected by the hurricane, and the volunteers that are helping to get life back to normal," said Meghan O'Hara, manager of in-kind donations for the American Red Cross. "Nestle Waters' donation allowed us to distribute clean drinking water to the affected areas, and we are grateful for the support." "Nestle Waters is a partner we can always count on in times of disaster," said John Connell, AmeriCares director of emergency response. "Their ongoing support enabled AmeriCares to respond quickly to Hurricane Dolly, so that drinking water was available in the communities hit hard by the storm within 24 hours." News Release_ 7/31/08

California Attorney General warns of global warming lawsuit over Nestle bottled water

State Attorney General Jerry Brown on Tuesday warned Siskiyou County officials that he would sue if global warming isn’t addressed in plans to build a bottling plant in McCloud. In a letter to the Siskiyou County Planning Department, Brown said that Nestle Waters North America needs to alter its plans and contract with the McCloud Community Services District to reflect climate change and environmental concerns. “It takes massive quantities of oil to produce plastic water bottles and to ship them in diesel trucks across the United States,” Brown said in a statement. “Nestle will face swift legal challenge if it does not fully evaluate the environmental impact of diverting millions of gallons of spring water from the McCloud River into billions of plastic water bottles." Brown said later Tuesday that when lawmakers passed the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, it became his responsibility to make sure the law was enforced. The bill requires that California move toward meeting international greenhouse gas standards. Redding Record Searchlight_ 7/30/08

Fiji Water Bottlers Institute to begin talks with interim government this week

The bottled water industry ceased operations about two weeks ago after the government imposed a 20 cent per liter excise duty and a 20 cent per liter export. However the taxes have been repealed and work has resumed with a solution expected this week. President of the Fiji Water Bottlers Institute Warwik Pleass says they express gratitude towards the PM, the Interim Attorney General and the military council for seeing the gravity of the situation. The institute will meet this week to begin the process of working with the Interim Government to benchmark Fiji and the Worlds successful water exporting countries. RadioFiji_ 7/28/08

Bottlemania: Water wars examined in new book

In 2006, some 8 billion gallons of bottled water were sold in America, and the $11 billion market welcomed 140 new products to the shelves. The year before, the bottled water industry spent $158 million on advertising in the United States alone. In "Bottlemania,'' (Bloomsbury, $24.99) Elizabeth Royte looks at the water wars: between bottled water and tap water, between big corporations and local water interests, between consumers who say they want the convenience, cleanliness and even status of bottled water, and environmentalists who condemn bottled water as "the moral equivalent of driving a Hummer,'' producing tons of plastic bottles, racking up huge transportation fees and leaving behind a significant carbon footprint. Royte uses the story of a faceoff between the small town of Fryeburg, Maine, and the giant Swiss food conglomerate Nestle, which, as the owner of Poland Spring water, sucked more than 168 million gallons of water out of Fryeburg in 2005 alone, as a prism through which to look at the many issues at stake in these water wars: "Is it right to trade water at all, to move it from its home watershed to other states, or even countries? Should the taxpayers who protect land and water share the profits of those who pump and sell that resource? How is water different from such resources as oil, trees or lobsters?'' New York Times/San Jose Mercury-News_ 7/25/08

International Bottled Water Association tips for using and storing bottled water in emergencies

The IBWA today is providing consumers with tips for bottled water and drinking water supplies during emergency situations. In view of the recent Midwest floods and the onset of tornado and hurricane season, IBWA reflects upon lessons learned by underscoring the critical need for clean drinking water for affected communities. "Hurricane Katrina was a tremendous eye-opener for government officials, emergency response professionals, communities, and industry, alike," said IBWA President and CEO Joseph K. Doss. "We saw how critical bottled water is for disaster-stricken communities and the importance of a coordinated, effective response to get drinking water to people in need." IBWA has developed the online IBWA Emergency Response Directory (ERD), which contains a list of organizations and government agencies responsible for emergency and disaster response activities. IBWA members and other interested parties can successfully navigate the proper channels and help provide bottled water and other resources to those in need by downloading the ERD at IBWA is a partner with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) and assists in producing the annual National Preparedness Month activities each September. According to DHS guidelines, all households should maintain an emergency supply of water -- at least one gallon per person per day for three days -- for drinking, cooking, and personal hygiene -- in the event that public drinking water service is interrupted or if its safety is compromised during an emergency event. For more IBWA tips, click here. News Release_ 7/21/08

India's BPCL to enter bottled water market to boost profits

Bharat Petroleum Corporation (BPCL), the country's second largest oil marketing company, plans to diversify into bottled water and direct to home (DTH) services in an attempt to boost its profits. The company reported a 91 per cent decline in its fourth quarter net profit as it was forced to sell fuel below the prevailing market price. The company is seeking the approval of shareholders, through a postal ballot, for the new line of business. The result of the postal ballot would be known by August 22. The bottled industry is witnessing increased competition, with global cola giants, Pepsico and Coca-Cola Company slugging it out with local players including industralist Vijay Mallya's Kingfisher. The size of the bottled market in India has, however, not been estimated. Business Standard_ 7/19/08

Fiji Islands water bottlers may shut down after government delays lifting tax

The interim Cabinet decided to delay revisiting the bottled water tax in their meeting on Thursday. Bottled water spokesman Jaya Dayal said the decision by the interim Cabinet would leave them no choice but to shut down their operations completely. He said all bottled water companies spent dozens of hours last week providing information to FIRCA and the interim Finance Minister Mahendra Chaudhry. “We believe the Government has sufficient information to determine that these onerous taxes, if left in place, will effectively shut down Fiji’s bottled water industry for good,” Dayal said. Fiji Daily Post_ 7/19/08

Poland Spring permit upheld

In a split decision, Maine's Supreme Court affirmed aCounty Superior Court's decision to uphold state land regulators' permitting of a permit to allow Poland Spring's parent company Nestle Waters North America Inc. to develop a pumping station on about 1,000 acres the company owns off Redington Road in Dallas Plantation.  The permit allows Poland Spring to extract up to 184 million gallons of water annually from Rangeley Water District's aquifers and to use 100 tanker trucks a day in and out of the station. The facility went on-line more than a year ago.  Two justices, Chief Justice Leigh Ingalls Saufley and Jon D. Levy, dissented.  Saufley wrote that rezoning, with its inherent public airing and thorough review of the newly proposed uses, should be undertaken before Nestle is allowed to engage in the extraction and transportation of the Rangeley Lakes Region's valuable water resources.  Cathryn Thorup, co-founder of the Rangeley coalition said, "The community of Rangeley is obviously deeply disappointed with the split decision. We are pleased that two justices, including the chief justice, came down on our side, but obviously we wish we could have prevailed. To anyone who asks in five or 10 years, 'How could you let this happen?' We can say we took this fight just as far as we could." SunJournal.com_7/18/08

Maine water district and Poland Spring water deal may be dead
Public input cited

The Board of Trustees of the Kennebunk, Kennebunkport and Wells Water District will hold a special meeting at 3 p.m. today, July 17, to consider indefinitely tabling a proposed agreement between the district and Poland Spring.  Water District Superintendent Norm Labbe announced his recommendation to table the agreement in a news release July 9 — about five weeks after the Water District and Poland Spring said they "reached an agreement on terms" stipulated in a contract that would allow the Nestlé-owned company to extract water from the Branch Brook Aquifer in Wells.  Labbe said the recommendation is his response to customer concerns that have been raised in the past few weeks and he feels "the board will receive (the) recommendation favorably."  "We are done with this proposal until further notice," Labbe said Friday. "We want to do what is best for our customers and if we ever address this issue again it will be done with public input, up front, and without prior action by the district." Seacoastonline.com_7/17/08

Fiji Water: Bottled water and tap not in competition

Thomas Mooney, senior vice president for sustainable growth at Fiji Green, in an interview with U.S. News & World Report, said "People think that tap water and bottled water are the competitive set. That is not, in fact, how it plays out." He pointed out that bottled water is healthier than soft drinks. "What is so frustrating about this debate is when you look at it through that lens, bottled water represents the healthiest choice, and by far the lowest environmental impact.... We have precious few healthy eating habits in this country, and this is one of them. We spent a generation telling people to drink less soda, and they listened. When I see my sons drinking bottled water, I remember drinking Coke at their age. U.S. News & World Report_ 7/15/08

Fiji Commerce Commission says it's illegal for bottled water industry to take group action against higher taxes

Commission chairman Charles Sweeney said the decision breached section 27(2) (ii) of the Fair Trading Decree 1992, which prohibits the making of any contract or arrangement which substantially lessens competition. The bottled water industry yesterday said it rejected any suggestion of collective anti-competitive behaviour. "The Commerce Commission should establish the facts before commenting, speculatively or otherwise, on any entity's commercial conduct," industry spokesman Jay Dayal said. "We should, however, clarify that not all bottlers have ceased production. Each bottler has made individual commercial decisions prior to the group meeting on Friday, based on what they have heard from FIRCA/ Customs." The Ministry of Finance and stakeholders in the bottled water industry is expected to meet today to discuss the new tax structure. Fiji Times_ 7/7/08

Fiji Islands Revenue and Customs Authority monitors stocks of bottled water in tax dispute

The Fiji Islands Revenue and Customs Authority (FIRCA) said it is closely monitoring the movement of all bottled water held in stock by the ten water bottling companies in the country in light of the increased duty on bottled water. FIRCA chief executive officer Jitoko Tikolevu said while they are awaiting instructions from the interim government on the decision by the ten companies to cease production, the new taxes are in force and have to be enforced. FijiVillage.com_ 7/6/08

Fiji bottled water execs to meet with interim finance minister over tax issue

The executives of the 10 water bottling companies are again meeting to discuss their next course of action as they prepare to meet with the Interim Finance Minister Mahendra Chaudhry tomorrow to discuss the increased duty imposed on the sale of bottled water. The ten companies ceased all production on Friday following the 20 cents per litre export duty imposed on all the mineral water exports and the 20 cents per litre excise duty on mineral water sold locally. FijiVillage.com_ 7/6/08

Local opposition stalls Poland Spring water sale

Citizens want input and answers to costs and water usage
Kennebunk, Kennebunkport and Wells Water district officials postponed approval of a contract to sell water to Nestle Waters North America, owner of the Poland Spring label, to July 30 due to a public opposition over the sale.  Local citizens and activists claim the water district is exceeding its authority to sell off water assets to Nestle and denying public input into the process.  Seacoastonline_7/3/08  See editorials at Water customers should look at facts, not spin and Water district answers questions

June, 2008

Dirty pipes keep Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania city workers drinking bottled water

Mayor Luke Ravenstahl would love to reduce the city's reliance on bottled water, but as long as the plumbing in the City-County Building remains in its current condition, city employees will quench their thirsts at the water cooler. The U.S. Conference of Mayors passed a resolution Monday encouraging cities to stop using taxpayer money to buy bottled water because it is expensive and generates substantial waste. The mayor's spokeswoman, Joanna Doven, said pipes in the 91-year-old building turn some tap water a nasty shade of orange and that it's not very tasty. Pittsburgh pays Atlanta-based Crystal Springs about $26,000 a year to keep its office coolers stocked with five-gallon bottles of purified water, according to the controller's office. Ms. Doven said that sometime in the future, the mayor would like to upgrade the City-County Building to a LEED-certified green structure, but that until then, the water situation would probably remain the same. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette_ 6/28/08

Small recall of 1-gallon Nestle Pure Life purified water from only Shop-Rite stores in the northeast U.S.

The recall is for the one-gallon Nestlé Pure Life Purified Drinking Water sold ONLY in Shop-Rite stores in the five Northeast states of Connecticut, Delaware, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania. This affects ONLY the one-gallon size. Fewer than 150 one-gallon bottles of Nestlé Pure Life Purified Water are implicated, produced in a short timeframe on May 5, 2008 between 8:00 AM and 9:00 AM. The product date code is printed on the shoulder of one-gallon bottles. The code is: First line..........050508126WF024 Second line.........Starts with the numbers "08" For example: 0801BB05/2010 The product in question may contain a diluted form of a common food grade cleaning compound that results in a bitter or sour taste. This could pose a potential health concern if ingested in large quantities over an extended period of time and should not be consumed or used in preparing infant formulas or other foods or beverages. No illnesses have been reported. To further assure consumers, Shop-Rite, as of Monday, June 23rd, has removed any remaining affected product from their stores and warehouses. Consumers who possess this product or have questions should contact the company at a toll free number 866-599-8980 available 24 hours a day. This same toll-free number is also printed on the front of all product labels for the one-gallon size. News Release/Business Wire_ 6/24/08

U.S. Conference of Mayors votes to ban bottled water staff report


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Mayors representing about 250 U.S. cities voted Monday to ban bottled water from city meetings and offices, except in cases of emergency. On a voice vote, members of the U.S. Conference of Mayors supported a resolution proposed by San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom that urges all mayors to phase out, “where feasible,” bottled water and support municipal water, said conference spokesperson Elena Temple. Newsom earlier estimated San Francisco saved $1 million by using tap water instead of bottled. Co-sponsors of the resolution represented cities large and small, from New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Chicago’s Richard Daley, to Mayors Joseph A. Curtatone of Somerville, Ma., and Dan Coody of Fayetteville, Ar. Both Somerville and Fayetteville have populations under 80,00. (full story)

In Maine, residents around Kennebunk raise concerns about selling water to Poland Springs

More than 100 people from Kennebunk, Kennebunkport and Wells urged water district Superintent Norm Labbe to reject a contract with Nestle-owned Poland Springs bottled water because the 30-year deal doesn't offer the district enough money and it's not known what water supplies will be like in coming years. The district is scheduled to vote Wednesday. Labbe said the plan could add jobs and that Poland Springs would pay about six-tenth of a cent more per gallon for the water than other commercial customers are charged. A company spokesman later told the Portland Press Herald that fee is in line with what it pays elsewhere but residents argued it wasn't high enoigh. Portland Press Herald_ 6/23/08

Michigan lawmakers to consider 10-cent deposit on bottled water to encourage recycling

Michigan's 10-cent deposit on pop cans and beer bottles works so well that its creators want to add water and juice containers to the recycling program passed by voters in 1976. But the newly revived effort faces potentially insurmountable odds in the Legislature, especially in the face of intense lobbying from grocers. Because it took a ballot initiative to enact the bottle law, the measure can only be amended if three-fourths of lawmakers agree. People return 97 percent of the 5.5 billion cans and bottles for which they pay a deposit. They recycle only 20 percent of increasingly popular plastic water bottles, which didn't even exist 32 years ago. Nearly 1 billion non-carbonated drink containers are thrown away each year in Michigan. WoodTV8_ 6/22/08

Bottled water competes with city budgets at U.S. Conference of Mayors' annual meeting staff report


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It’s bottled vs. tap this weekend as mayors from across the country gather for the annual meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, and a vote that could banish the bottle from city meetings and offices. A resolution scheduled for a vote Monday urges cities to phase out the use of bottled water except in emergency situations. It was proposed by San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, who estimated a ban on bottled water saved his city $1 million, and is backed by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. But it’s not just the larger cities that support the ban. Dan Coody, mayor of Fayetteville, Arkansas, population 68,000-plus, and co-chair of the Conference’s Water Council, said his city discontinued the use of bottled water several years ago. Coody said he didn’t know how much bottled water cost the city, but the main issues included spending money for water that in many cases “is exactly the same quality as what’s right next to you in the kitchen.” (full story)

Bottled water slumps with the economy

The lousy economy may be accomplishing what environmentalists have been trying to do for years - wean people off the disposable plastic bottles of water that were sold as stylish, portable, healthier and safer than water from the tap. U.S. consumers spent $16.8 billion on bottled water in 2007, according to the trade publication Beverage Digest. That's up 12 percent from the year before - but it's the slowest growth rate since the early 1990s, said editor John Sicher. AP/San Jose Mercury News_ 6/18/08

New York City Council bans bottled water from its offices and events

Last week, the speaker’s office announced that it would stop buying bottled water for the Council’s downtown offices, which went through at least 6,000 single-serving bottles last year. As a result, bottled water will no longer be available at City Council events or official functions. In addition, the city has started a pilot program with water coolers that use filtered tap water. Nine of the coolers have been installed in the last six months at City Hall and in the Municipal Building. These small shifts come as the United States Conference of Mayors, meeting this weekend in Miami, plans to debate a resolution urging city governments across the country to do the same. New York Times_ 6/17/08 (logon required)

Book Review: Bottlemania

To paraphrase an old axiom: You don’t buy water, you only rent it. So why did Americans spend nearly $11 billion on bottled water in 2006, when we could have guzzled tap water at up to about one ten-thousandth the cost? The facile answer is marketing, marketing and more marketing, but Elizabeth Royte goes much deeper into the drink in “Bottlemania: How Water Went on Sale and Why We Bought It,” streaming trends cultural, economic, political and hydrological into an engaging investigation of an unexpectedly murky substance. “Bottlemania” is an easy-to-swallow survey of the subject from verdant springs in the Maine woods to tp water treatment plants in Kansas City; from the grand specter of worldwide water wars, to the microscopic crustaceans called copepods, whose presence in New York’s tap water inspired a debate by Talmudic scholars about whether the critters violated dietary laws, and whether filtering water on the Sabbath constituted work. (Verdict: no and no.) New York Times_ 6/15/08 (logon required)

In UK, bottled water to be repllced by tap at Westminster council

It has re-fitted all free-standing water dispensers with ones plumbed directly into the mains supply, saving 1,050 bottles each year. The authority has also replaced pre-bottled water at all council meetings with new re-usable ones. More than £12,000 will be saved each year from the move, Westminster Council has said. BBC News_ 6/10/08

May, 2008

Canada's top court dismisses fly-in-water case

Canada's top court has unanimously dismissed the case of a man suing a company for psychological damages he says he suffered after finding dead flies in his water bottle. The Supreme Court of Canada was examining whether Culligan of Canada Ltd., a company that supplies big blue water bottles used in home dispensers, had a duty of care to Waddah (Martin) Mustapha and his family, and whether the psychiatric harm Mustapha suffered as a result of discovering the flies was foreseeable. The Windsor, Ont., man has maintained that the discovery of one and a half flies in the large water bottle triggered depression, phobia and anxiety that affected his work and even his sex life. He was seeking more than $300,000 in compensation. In a 9-0 ruling issued Thursday, the Supreme Court decided that the damages Mustapha claimed to have suffered, while imaginable, were not foreseeable. Because Mustapha's reaction could not have been predicted, the court decided Culligan could not be liable. Mustapha has said he vomited when he and his wife spotted a whole fly and part of another fly in their unopened water bottle in November 2001. CBC 5/22/08

U.S. bottled water consumption grew 6.9 percent in 2007

The world's top consumer of bottled water, the United States, consumed 8.823 million gallons in 2007. Compared to 2006, US consumption grew 6.9%. US consultancy firm Beverage Marketing Corporation (BMC) even sees further growth again this year – a 6.7% increase to 9.418 million gallons. According to the BMC, the wholesale dollar sales for bottled water in the US exceeded US$11.55 billion in 2007 - a 6.4% rise compared to US$10.85 billion recorded in 2006. Recent BMC brand data obtained by FLEXNEWS shows that Nestle Waters North America (NWNA) accounted for approximately one-third of total bottled water sales in the US last year thanks to its best-selling brands, Arrowhead, Deer Park, Ozarka, Poland Spring, and Zephyrhills, among others. The best-selling brand in 2007 was Coca-Cola Company’s Dasani with wholesale dollar sales of US$1.6 billion – in other words 13.9% of US bottled water sales last year. In second position comes PepsiCo’s Aquafina with wholesale dollars sales of US$1.47 billion, or 12.7% of US sales. Aquafina was ranked first in 2005 and 2006 and was only overtaken in 2007 by Dasani. Nestle Waters’ top 3 brands: Poland Spring, Arrowhead, Nestle Purelife come in 3rd, 4th, 5th position. Their 2007 sales amounted to US$878 million (7.6%), US$585 million (5%) and US$545 million (4.7%) respectively. FlexNews_ 5/16/08

Democrats want chemical in plastic investigated

Congress on Wednesday waded into an escalating scientific dispute over a controversial ingredient in plastic products that some think may harm the development of children's brains and interfere with human reproduction. Members of a Senate consumer affairs subcommittee faulted federal agencies for reacting too slowly to concerns that children are exposed to bisphenol A, or BPA, through leaching from such items as water bottles, baby bottles and the linings of food and baby formula cans. Senate Democrats demanded more independent research into the possible hazards of the estrogen-like compound and better labeling of products that include it. Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) pushed for legislation he has introduced to prohibit BPA in all products designed for and intended to be used by children age 7 and younger. The compound is used in the manufacture of polycarbonate, a rigid plastic, and epoxy resins. Los Angeles Times_ 5/15/08

Nestle scales back plans for California water bottling plant

Nestle SA said Monday it is significantly scaling back plans in Northern California to build what would have been the country's largest water bottling plant. The announcement by Nestle Waters North America comes after years of opposition by environmentalists and a group of residents in the rural town of McCloud. With soaring fuel and transportation costs, building a 1 million square foot facility at the base of Mount Shasta no longer makes economic sense, said David Palais, Nestle's Northern California natural resource manager. The company also has built a plant in Denver and expanded other facilities in the West. Palais told The Associated Press that those expansions make a large plant in California less necessary. Critics of the plant welcomed Nestle's announcement but called on McCloud's five-member services district to negotiate a better contract. AP/Business Week_ 5/12/08

Seattle's mayor urges residents to stop buying bottled water

Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels urged Seattleites today to stop buying bottled water as a way to be more environmentally conscious. The mayor explained that Seattle's tap water, "some of the finest-tasting, purest-source water in the world," is an excellent alternative. Nickels said the city charges one third of a cent for a gallon of water, compared to an average of 79 cents for a pint of bottled water. Nickels said the city's two water sources, the Cedar and Tolt rivers, produce "gold standard" water, and tap water is better than bottled water because it contains fluoride. In March, Nickels directed the city to stop buying bottled water, estimating it could save taxpayers as much as $57,000 a year. Seattle Times_ 5/7/08

U.S. Conference of Mayors begins its discussion of bottled water

WaterWebster staff report

May 1, 2008

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The U.S. Conference of Mayors today began its discussion of how bottled water contributes to solid waste. The meeting in New York City was convened as the result of a municipal water resolution the Conference of Mayors adopted at its June, 2007 meeting in Los Angeles titled The Importance of Municipal Water. Presentations also were made by representatives of The American Beverage Association and The International Bottled Water Association on new information on industry efforts to reduce the amount of materials used in plastic water bottles and water conservation in bottled water production processes. San Francisco, Albuquerque, Minneapolis, Seattle, and other cities have banned the purchase of single-serve bottled water by their city departments since 2007, citing concerns about the cost of bottled water and its impact on city budgets, as well as and bottled water’s contribution to solid waste.

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Bottled water industry response to U.S. Conference of Mayors' Water Council meeting News Release_ 5/2/08

April, 2008

Bottled water market in Europe is still sparkling

Rising health concerns in Europe have thrown open several windows of opportunities for the bottled water industry, which has so far played second fiddle to the soft drink sector. Apart from benefiting greatly from the general reluctance to drink tap water, bottled water in Europe scores over fizzy drinks due to the latter's high calorie count.  New analysis from Frost & Sullivan finds that the market earned EUR 24.52 billion in 2006 and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 2.5 percent in Western Europe and 17.7 percent in Eastern Europe during 2007-2010.  Fox Business_4/23/08

Bottling companies face opposition as worries grow over water supplies

From California to New Hampshire and Florida, corporate giants such as Nestle, Coca-Cola and Crystal Geyser are looking for new sources of water and running into resistance.  Supporters of bottling plants see them as a vital source of jobs and revenue. Others fear that pumping large amounts of water from the ground will drain wells, creeks and streams. "It's no longer this limitless resource," said Elaine Renich, a commissioner in Lake County, Fla., where California-based Niagara Bottling LLC wants to pump water from the region's shrinking aquifer. "It's beyond me how you can expect people to conserve water and you turn around and say a water bottling plant is OK." In New Hampshire, residents are trying to block New Hampshire-based USA Springs from pumping more than 300,000 gallons a day from 100 acres it bought. Opposition in Wisconsin forced Nestle to abandon plans by its Perrier subsidiary to build a $100 million bottling plant near Wisconsin Dells. In Michigan, about 200 miles northwest of Detroit, residents are engaged in a similar legal dispute against Nestle.  Baltimore Sun_4/24/08

Canadian school board bans sale of bottled water at its schools
The Waterloo Region board has banned the sale of plastic bottles of water in its schools starting next year, a move that is expected to spur others across the province into action.The decision covers cafeterias, vending machines, and school and board functions. "The thing about bottled water is that you can just as easily go to the tap – it's just as high quality" and in fact is tested more often and more rigorously, said Kitchener trustee Ted Martin, who spearheaded the Waterloo Region District School Board decision. The new rules don't forbid students from bringing bottled water from their own homes, "but we hope through this campaign and the education around it, children wouldn't want to any more," Martin said.  The Star_4/24/08

Plastic bottle chemical may be harmful: U.S. agency

A chemical in some plastic food and drink packaging including baby bottles may be tied to early puberty and prostate and breast cancer, the U.S. government said on Tuesday. Based on draft findings by the National Toxicology Program, part of the U.S. National Institutes of Health, senior congressional Democrats asked the Food and Drug Administration to reconsider its view that the chemical bisphenol A is safe in products for use by infants and children. The chemical, also called BPA, is used in many baby bottles and the plastic lining of cans of infant formula. The National Toxicology Program went further than previous U.S. government statements on possible health risks from BPA. The National Toxicology Program said laboratory rodents exposed to BPA levels similar to human exposures developed precancerous lesions in the prostate and mammary glands, among other things. Bisphenol A is used in the production of polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins and can be found in food and drink packaging as well as compact discs and some medical devices. Some dental sealants or composites contain it as well.   Reuters_ 4/15/08

Underwriters Laboratories launches bottled water safety certification program

WaterWebster staff report

April 14, 2008

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The new Underwriters Laboratories (UL) certification mark will enable bottled water companies to demonstrate to the public that the quality and safety of the water has been validated by a third party, UL said in a news release. Under the program, UL will independently test water for bottlers who want the certification label. If the water passes the tests, UL will certify to consumers that it meets Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and International Bottled Water Association (IBWA) requirements. In addition, UL said it has “extensive analytical capabilities for contaminants of emerging concern including pharmaceuticals and is happy to offer this testing to bottled water producers who are interested in this service.” The Associated Press last month reported on the prevalence of small amounts of drugs in U.S. water supplies. In the summer of 2007, UL commissioned a blind market research study to quantify the value of the UL Mark among U.S. consumers of bottled water. According to the company announcement, the study found that in every tested scenario there was significant consumer preference for bottled water brands that carry the UL Mark, and that many consumers would switch brands or pay more to get the benefits of the UL Mark. (full story)

Korean tap water to go on sale as bottled water

The Ministry of Environment said Monday it will allow commercial sales of tap water. There are already several brands of bottled water of a kind released by local governments, such as Arisu of Seoul and Sunsoo of Busan. However, these bottles were given to the public free of charge at large public events only and were not sold to ordinary citizens. Bottled tap water sales will begin in October. The ministry said it hopes the marketing of such water will not only expand the drinking water market but also elevate public recognition of tap water safety. The tap water will have passed through clean new pipes and will therefore be safe to drink. Korea Times_ 4/7/08

Nestle CEO says increasing scarcity of water could become problem for company

Nestle SA.'s chief executive Peter Brabeck said the increasing scarcity of water may become a problem for the Swiss food company, according to an interview on Swiss station Radio DRS over the weekend. Brabeck also said that due to a recent push for biofuels food growers now have to compete with biofuel makers for land and water. It takes about 9,100 litres of water to produce one litre of biofuel, he added. Thomson Financial/Forbes_ 4/7/08

New York City hot spots ban bottled water

A dozen city restaurants and hotels have declared bottled water politically incorrect and are bouncing it from their premises - so get ready to pay for tap water. These green-thinking foodies are faced with the fact that it takes 41 million barrels of oil a year to make, transport and refrigerate water bottles, and that a crushing 30 million plastic water containers end up in landfills each day. But both plastic and glass bottles are going. The Waverly Inn will serve flat tap water for free, and charge $5 per glass for its homemade, specially treated sparkling water from the tap - as they also do at Gemma. New York Post_ 4/6/08

West Virginia's Tumai water brings hope to Africa

WaterWebster staff report

April 2, 2008

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Bob Downey is exporting hope from Martinsburg, West Virginia to South Africa and other areas of the African continent, one sip at a time. Downey created the Spero Group after working as an engineer on a project in Africa and seeing the kind of help that many in Africa need. In Latin, the word spero means hope. The Spero Group in turn formed the nonprofit bottled water company Tumai, which is Swahili for “to hope for." At least 15% of the profits from sales of the bottled water are used “specifically to fund the projects we do in Africa,” said Downey. Those projects include assistance for two orphanages in South Africa and work with groups like Engineers Without Borders in other parts of Africa. Among the projects the bottled water sales help underwrite are permanent drinking water well systems and improved sanitation, Downey said. (full story)

March, 2008

US recalls 18,000 children's water bottles because of lead hazard

WaterWebster Staff Report

March 25, 2008

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The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission today recalled about 18,000 children's water  bottles made in China because paint on the outside of the bottles violated lead safety standards. There are no known injuries reported from using the bottles which were sold between February 2006 and February 2008 but parents were urged to immediately take them away from children. A news release from the federal agency said the bottles were manufactured in China for Downeast Concepts Inc. of Yarmouth, Maine, and sold under the product name Backyard and Beyond Metal Water Bottles.

Penta Water study shows skin benefits

By Elaine Barrington

WaterWebster Staff Writer

March 23, 2008

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Penta Water Company reports a study it commissioned shows human skin may benefit from the firm's bottled water. A Penta announcement said the company hired Dr. Jean Krutmann, Professor of Dermatology and Environmental Medicine and Director of the Institute for Environmental Medical Research at the Heinrich Heine University, Dusseldorf, Germany to conduct a study of the benefits of its bottled water. According to the study, human skin cells cultured in Penta Water had significantly less damage from ultraviolet radiation than skin cells cultured in plain water, the company said. It said the findings support Penta's claim that its water may act as an anti-oxidant and promote anti-aging. To confirm the findings, Penta said it is paying The University of California, Davis, to conduct additional studies on Penta Water. Penta says its water, which comes from San Diego city water, may have anti-oxidizing effects because Penta Water is first cleaned using a state of the art purification system to remove all chemicals, particles and impurities.

San Francisco restaurants urged to offer tap water
San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, a restaurateur turned politician, called on his former colleagues in the restaurant business Thursday to stop selling bottled water to customers and start serving local tap water instead. The mayor made international headlines last year when he banned city government from spending tax dollars on bottled water for its employees, saying the containers clog landfills and pollute the environment. But his new request that restaurants make the switch is just that - a request.  "Not every restaurant is going to be able to afford to do this," Newsom said, noting that restaurants make a significant profit on bottled water sales. In a press conference Newsom announced the campaign to urge restaurants to serve San Francisco tap water piped in straight from the Sierra.  Earlier this month, the American Waterworks Association Research Foundation tested 20 of the nation's water systems for compounds typically used in medicines, household cleaners and cosmetics and found San Francisco's water almost alone in being free of contaminants. And blind taste tests have also shown that the city's water tastes as good as, and in some cases better than, bottled water.  San Francisco Chronicle_3/21/08

Stephen Colbert's Aqua Colbert

The Comedy Central comedian takes on America's love of water. There's his own bottled water brand, his visit to the American Mseum of Natural History's H2O=Life exhibit and much more. Note to dial up users, this video begins to play as soon as the page loads so it may be a slow connection.The Colbert Report_ 3/20/08

Rising US sales of bottled water trigger strong reaction from conservationists

Bottled water sales in the United States reached 8.82 billion gallons in 2007, worth $11.7 billion, making the U.S. market for bottled water the largest in the world, according to Beverage Marketing, a provider of beverage industry data. Worldwide, water bottlers sold 47 billion gallons, or 178 billion liters, in 2006, up from 43 billion gallons in 2005.Campaigners against bottled water cite concerns that include energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, waste, the environmental effect of water extraction, the perils of privatization and social issues.  International Herald Tribune_3/19/08

Seattle giving bottled water the boot
The newest public enemy: bottled water

To cut down on trash and help the environment, the city of Seattle will stop buying bottled water, Mayor Greg Nickels announced Thursday.  The city could save as much as $58,000 a year, officials said, by not purchasing bottled water for events or water-cooler jugs for its workers.  "It is to really highlight the fact that Seattle has one of the best municipal water supplies in the country," said Marty McOmber, the mayor's spokesman. "When you look at the cost of bottled water, both in terms of financial costs and costs on the environment, it's a pretty clear choice that using city water is a much better choice." Seattle Times_3/14/08

International Bottled Water Assn. says FDA ensures bottled water safe from drugs

A recent Associated Press article reports that trace amounts of pharmaceuticals have been found in some U.S. municipal drinking water systems. The International Bottled Water Association (IBWA) would like to remind consumers that bottled water is not simply tap water in a bottle and that the safety and quality of bottled water produced in accordance with US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) standards do not pose a health risk due to pharmaceuticals or other substances. Bottled water is comprehensively regulated as a packaged food product by FDA. Bottled water companies use a multi-barrier approach to bottled water safety, which includes source protection, source monitoring, reverse osmosis, distillation, filtration and other purification techniques, ozonation or ultraviolet (UV) light. The combination of FDA and state regulations, along with a multi-barrier approach and other protective measures, means that consumers can remain confident in choosing bottled water. News Release_ 3/11/08

UK Govt to splash out less on bottled water
The government said Thursday it is to ban bottled water at meetings and other official business, just weeks after a minister said shunning tap water was morally questionable.  Cabinet Secretary Gus O'Donnell wrote "to the head of every government department suggesting they should replace bought-in bottled water with tap water for all meetings in future," a statement said.  A number of departments, including the environment and business ministries, have already stopped using bottled water at meetings but the new extended policy is expected to come into effect later this year, it added.  "The government is committed to sustainable operations across its estate and I have made this issue one of my key priorities for the civil service," O'Donnell said.  Earlier Thursday, it was revealed that the environment ministry spent 24,744 pounds (32,333 euros, 49,658 dollars) on mineral water in 2006, but slashed that to 3,392 pounds last year.  London Mayor Ken Livingstone, backed by utility firm Thames Water and green groups, launched a blitz against mineral water last month, urging bar, pub and restaurant customers to ask for tap water to help the environment.  He highlighted the cheaper cost of tap water and the fact that it comes without the heavy carbon footprint of transporting bottled varieties by road and often vast distances from as far away as Fiji and New Zealand. AFP_3/6/08

Dutch drinking more bottled water

Five years ago the average person drank 17 litres of bottled water, compared to 22 litres today. Nevertheless consumers still got through a total of 1.5 billion litres of fizzy drinks last year, compared to 358 million litres of bottled water. DutchNews.nl_ 3/3/08

February, 2008

Los Angeles and Clearbrook, British Columbia, tap water, Tumai bottled water and Slavus Mineralwasser Medium best in national taste test

Though they might not believe it, Los Angeles residents have the tastiest tap water in the U.S., according to the judges of a national competition. The 18th Annual Berkeley Springs, West Virginia, International Water Tasting was held Saturday, with more than 120 waters competing for top honors. Sparkling, tap and bottled water from 19 states and 9 foreign countries, including New Zealand, Romania, Macedonia and the Philippines, were in the running. The title for Best Municipal Water in 2008 is shared by the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, which serves Los Angeles, and Clearbrook, British Columbia. First-time entrant and local favorite Tumai Water of Martinsburg, W.Va., won the best bottled water category. The company launched in 2006, and donates profits to AIDS relief and water needs in Africa. Best sparkling water honors went to Slavus Mineralwasser Medium of Emsdetten, Germany. AP/USA Today_ 2/24/08

London's mayor says knockoff using bottled water
The Lord Mayor of London has called for a boycott of bottled water in favor of "cheaper, better-tasting and more environmentally friendly" tap water.  Mayor Ken Livingston says bottled water served with meals in London costs 500 times more than tap water and is 300 times more damaging to the environment, according to the Thames Water company.  The mayor told his constituents not to be embarrassed to ask for tap water when they eat out. "You will save money and help save the planet. By drinking less bottled water, we can cut the climate change carbon emissions coming from its production and transportation, and cut the problem of disposing of used bottles. "  Thames Water Chief Executive David Owens, said he has the best drinking water in the world and in a recent independent taste test rated higher than 20 more expensive, bottled brands.  Environment Minister Phil Woolas added that he wasn't going to tell people what to drink, "but I believe there is no place for snobbery about tap water, and no excuse for making people feel small if they ask for it. "  Seattle Post Intelligencer _2/21/08

Venice, Italy's 'war' on bottled water

The patriarch of Venice is urging Catholics in the Italian city to give up bottled water for the Christian fasting season of Lent. Angelo Cardinal Scola wants them to donate the money saved to a water pipeline project in Thailand. He is being backed by the mayor, who says he drinks only tap water and calls bottled water an unnecessary luxury. Nearly all Italians drink bottled water. The industry is worth an estimated 3.2 billion euros (£2.38 billion) a year to the Italian economy. BBC News_ 2/12/08

Care to see the water menu?

After millions of years, the way we look at water is changing. This simple substance is being transformed from a necessity into a luxury. People are now prepared to spend $40 for what they can get through their tap at home for a fraction of a cent. What's going on? Claridge's, a luxury hotel in London, actually has a water menu. Patrons can choose from 30 selections imported from all over the world. For the most refined palette there is Fine artesian water from Japan at $30 a bottle and $40 a bottle, or Mahaolo from Hawaii, described on the menu as "rare deep sea water" that is "very old." And Just Born Spring Drops from India is apparently "light and not aggressive," at $42 per bottle. ABC News_ 2/8/08 (Nightline)

GAO asked to investigate impact of bottled water use

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The public debate over widespread use of bottled drinking water moved to Washington Thursday. Leaders of a House environmental subcommittee asked for an examination of the fast-growing industry’s impact on resources and consumers.The chair and vice chair of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Environment and Hazardous Materials urged the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to conduct the inquiry. Reps. Albert R. Wynn (D-Md), the subcommittee chair and Hilda Solis (D-Ca), the vice chair, also asked the GAO to separately scrutinize the Environmental Protection Agency’s safety standards for TCE, perchlorate and other drinking water contaminants, according to a news release.On the issue of consumers switching from tap water to bottled, the International Bottled Water Association (IBWA) said in a news release it will work with the GAO on the study but believes the safety, quality and labeling of bottled water already are well-regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and state governments.

China Water and Drinks signs agreement for private placement of $50 million in convertible notes

China Water and Drinks, Inc. is a leading producer and distributor of bottled water in the People's Republic of China. Investors in today's agreement included Goldman Sachs, Liberty Harbor Master Fund I, L.P., The Pinnacle Fund, L.P., Pinnacle China Fund, L.P., and others. The net proceeds will be used for acquisitions. The convertible notes will bear an interest rate of 5.0% per annum, payable quarterly in arrears beginning March 31, 2008. Through its production facilities in Guangzhou, Zhanjiang, Feixian, Changchun, Nanning and Shenyang, China Water and Drinks produces and distributes bottled water to eleven provinces in China. The Company markets its own product under the brand 'Darcunk', supplies purified water to both local and international beverage brands such as Coca-Cola and Uni-President and provides private label bottled water for companies such as Sands Casino, Macau. News Release_ 1/25/08

Nestle loses sales as restaurant bans bottled water

Tap water is fine for Alice Waters, who stopped selling bottled stuff last year at her environmentally conscious Chez Panisse restaurant in Berkeley, California. That could be bad news for Nestle SA. Per-capita sales of the product in the U.S. will rise 6.3 percent this year and 3.6 percent in 2010, slowing from 8.9 percent last year, according to Euromonitor International Ltd. Operating profit growth at Nestle's water unit, whose 2006 sales of 9.6 billion Swiss francs ($8.7 billion) were 10 percent of the Swiss company's total, will shrink by half to 5 percent in 2008, UBS AG has forecast.  Beverage companies including Nestle, Coca-Cola Co. and PepsiCo Inc. are also facing inroads from private labels in the $15 billion industry. The competition comes as religious groups and environmentalists say that bottling wastes energy and overtaxes landfills. "All this energy to bottle water, carbonate it, put it in the glass, ship it and truck it to our restaurant -- it was such a waste,'' said Mike Kossa-Rienzi, 43, general manager of Chez Panisse. The restaurant used to sell about 25,000 bottles a year. Now Chez Panisse filters and serves tap, flat or carbonated, in a glass carafe for free.  Bloomberg.com_1/22/08

Madison, Wisconsin considers ban on plastic water bottles

The city partly known for its environmentalism could take it a step further by banning bottled water and the use of plastic grocery bags. Madison’s Commission on the Environment is expected to begin discussing the bans after members voted unanimously at the end of last year to put them on upcoming agendas. Several U.S cities already prohibit retail stores from providing plastic shopping bags, and many in Europe charge extra for the bags, said commission chairman Jon Standridge. San Francisco, Ann Arbor, Mich., and a few other cities don’t allow bottled water to be sold at public events. The problem with plastic bags and bottles is that while they can be recycled, they don’t break down if they end up in landfills. Another environmental problem is the energy and resources used to make the plastic in the first place, Standridge said. The International Bottled Water Association is fighting proposed bans in a number of cities, said Peter Birschbach, plant manager for Premium Waters in Chippewa Falls. Birschbach argued water bottlers use only a fraction of the ground water and proper disposal of bottles can best be addressed through education. AP/Appleton Post-Crescent_ 1/17/08

Bottled vs. tap

Even as bottled water companies continue to see increased sales, the recent raft of negative media coverage and activist campaigns against the industry has caused a product once seen as fundamentally green and healthy to lose some of its luster. Now, brand-name bottlers are scrambling to reposition their products by upping their green credentials to fend off further consumer backlash fermenting in churches, college campuses, and city halls across the country.  By now, most Americans have heard reports that point to the amount of oil it takes to produce and transport bottled water, in addition to the masses of plastic bottles that are used once and not recycled. But most American consumers don't seem to be changing their habits.  Since 2002, the US market has seen an increase in bottled water production of more than 9 percent per year, according to the Beverage Marketing Corporation. After soft drinks, water has been the second-largest commercial beverage by volume since 2003. Production for 2007 is projected to be more than 9 billion gallons, with revenues clocking in just under $12 billion.  Despite buoyant profits, critics say it is only a matter of time before the tide turns against the bottle. Meanwhile, a chorus of state and local governments, social justice groups, and college students are turning up the heat on Big Water.  In response to their detractors, some water brands are attempting to revive their green images. For example, FIJI Water, the second-largest imported bottled water brand in the United States, recently announced plans to become carbon-negative by 2010 by using renewable energies and offsetting emissions through land-preservation projects.  Christian Science Monitor_1/16/08

Lawsuit filed to overturn Chicago bottled water tax

The International Bottled Water Association (IBWA) today filed a lawsuit in Cook County Circuit Court to overturn a City of Chicago ordinance that imposes a regressive 5-cent-per-container tax on bottled water. Other plaintiffs in the suit include the Illinois Retail Merchants Association, the Illinois Food Retailers Association, and the American Beverage Association. "The bottled water tax is regressive and will place an unfair burden on those who can least afford it: the City's low and fixed-income citizens, including the elderly," said IBWA President and CEO Joe Doss. "It is the consumer who will ultimately bear the brunt and pay the tax, which will add about 30 percent to the cost of a case of bottled water." IBWA and fellow plaintiffs argue that the ordinance, which became effective on January 1, 2008, unlawfully taxes a food product, which is expressly prohibited by Illinois law. Furthermore, the Illinois State Constitution requires tax uniformity, meaning that a specific product cannot be taxed when other similar products are not. The bottled water tax does not include other packaged beverage products that are made mostly from water. News Release_ 1/4/08

Woolrich closing Pennsylvania bottled water operation after two years

Woolrich President Jim Griggs made the announcement Thursday afternoon, stating a need for the 150-year-old company to better focus its resources on core Woolrich businesses. Six employees will lose their jobs due to the shutdown, Woolrich Director of Marketing and Media Tim Joseph said. The Woolrich bottled water division began operations in 2005 with a largely automated, state-of-the-art facility selling bottled water to distributors, health care systems, schools, universities, and small businesses throughout Pennsylvania and several surrounding states. Woolrich bottled water was honored last spring in the largest taste-testing competition in the world, placing 5th among entries from 23 states and 10 foreign countries. The Express_ 1/4/08


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