Bottled Water Report Cards are out…

 

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) issued a report card for bottled water based on the the transparency of the labeling and most bottled water failed miserably.  EWG wants bottlers to disclose the source of the water, the purification process used, and any contaminants found.  Filtered Tap Water scored the only A, since you know where it is from and you can remove the contaminants you wish to remove.  Good idea! 

 

http://breakingnews.ewg.org/bottled-water-2011-home

What’s In Your Bottled Water – Besides Water?

Download the Full Report PDF

Pure, clean water.

That’s what the ads say. But what does the lab say?

When you shell out for bottled water, which costs up to 1,900 times more than tap water, you have a right to know what exactly is inside that pricey plastic bottle.

Most bottled water makers don’t agree. They keep secret some or all the answers to these elementary questions:

  • Where does the water come from?
  • Is it purified? How?
  • Have tests found any contaminants?

Among the ten best-selling brands, nine — Pepsi’s Aquafina, Coca-Cola’s Dasani, Crystal Geyser and six of seven Nestlé brands — don’t answer at least one of those questions.

Only one — Nestlé’s Pure Life Purified Water — discloses its water source and treatment method on the label and offers an 800-number, website or mailing address where consumers can request a water quality test report.

The industry’s refusal to tell consumers everything they deserve to know about their bottled water is surprising.

Since July 2009, when Environmental Working Group released its groundbreaking Bottled Water Scorecard, documenting the industry’s failure to disclose contaminants and other crucial facts about their products, bottled water producers have been taking withering fire from consumer and environmental groups.

A new EWG survey of 173 unique bottled water products finds a few improvements – but still too many secrets and too much advertising hype. Overall, 18 percent of bottled waters fail to list the source, and 32 percent disclose nothing about the treatment or purity of the water. Much of the marketing nonsense that drew ridicule last year can still be found on a number of labels.

EWG recommends that you drink filtered tap water. You’ll save money, drink water that’s purer than tap water and help solve the global glut of plastic bottles.

We support stronger federal standards to enforce the consumer’s right to know all about bottled water.

Until the federal Food and Drug Administration cracks down on water bottlers, use EWG’s Bottled Water Scorecard to find brands that disclose water source, treatment and quality and
that use advanced treatment methods to remove a broad range of pollutants.

Uncategorized

Super Slow-Mo water drop video

This is a very cool video showing a water drop bounce off of the surface of water like it’s on a trampoline.

 

Water Drop video
Bottled Water, In The News, Water Purification

Fiji Plant Reopens

In a not very shocking development, which I predicted, Fiji waters reopened its bottling plant on its namesake island.  After “negotiations” with the Fiji government.  And all is well with shipping water across the globe again because Hollywood likes a square bottle…

 

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704679204575647062823813710.html?mod=googlenews_wsj

Fiji Water Reopens Bottling Plant

Bottled-drink company Fiji Water said it reopened its bottling facility in the South Pacific country for which it is named, ending a two-day standoff with the local government over taxes.

The company, which is owned by billionaire investors Lynda Resnick and Stewart Resnick, closed the facility Monday, sending about 400 workers home. The shutdown came in response to a move by Fiji’s government to impose a steep tax increase on companies that extract large volumes of water from the country. Fiji Water was the sole company affected by the increase.

On Tuesday, Fiji Water lawyers Craig Cooper and Marigold Moody met with Fiji government officials, including Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama, seeking to resolve the dispute. After the meetings, Fiji Water agreed to accept the tax increase and reopened the plant Wednesday at 8 a.m. local time.

"Fiji Water is committed to working with the Fijian government and remains dedicated to helping the country’s economy and its people," company President John Cochran said in a statement.

Earlier this week, Commodore Bainimarama, who came to power in a 2006 coup, said he would welcome a rival taking over Fiji Water’s assets if the company refused to comply with the government’s tax increase.

Fiji Water, which was started in 1996 by Canadian businessman David Gilmour, has close ties to Fiji. Its water comes from an artesian aquifer in the Yaqara Valley, a remote part of Fiji’s main island. Almost all of the company’s workers are Fijians.

On Monday, the company idled those employees, saying it would pay them two weeks’ salary. However, it said it called them back to work for Wednesday’s re-opening.

Fiji Water accounts for about 2% of the $10.6 billion U.S. bottled-water market, making it one of the biggest imported waters in the U.S.

The Resnicks’ holding company, Roll International Corp., bought Fiji Water in 2004from Mr. Gilmour, who also founded a resort in the country.

Fiji Water’s sales rose to $141 million in 2008 from $78 million in 2005 but fell last year to $85 million.

Bottled Water, Green Water, In The News

FIJI Water to Leave Fiji?

According to a press release from Fiji Water, they will be closing their bottling plant on the island of Fiji after the government imposed a 15 cent per liter tax on bottled water.  Apparently, the tax only applies to Fiji Water as the largest bottler on the island.  Fiji water is often criticized for being one of the least environmentally responsible bottled water choices (despite their Green Water advertising campaigns), so maybe now they will produce closer to their customers. 

But they’ll have to change the claims about their source water, I suppose.

Actually, my guess is that this is a bit of posturing by both sides, so I’d expect a compromise solution before they actually abandon the facility.  Stay tuned…

————–

Fiji Water closes facility on namesake island country

Monday, November 29, 2010

SUVA, FIJI — Bottled water company Fiji Water announced that it is closing its facility on the South Pacific country of Fiji, according to a press release.

The company said it was forced to close operations on its namesake island country due to a massive tax increase, the release stated.

Fiji’s government announced last week that it will impose a 15-cent per liter tax on bottled water at locations where more than 3.5 million liters per month are extracted.

Fiji Water, which currently pays 1/3rd of a cent per liter, is the only bottled water producer in Fiji affected by the increased tax, according to the release.

“This new tax is untenable and as a consequence, Fiji Water is left with no choice but to close our facility in Fiji, effective Monday Nov. 29, 2010,” said Fiji Water President John Cochran. “We are saddened that we have been forced to make a business decision that will result in hardship to hundreds of Fijians who will now be without work.”

Bottled Water, Green Water, In The News , , ,

Sustainable water supply coming online in Colorado

 

Here is an innovative solution in Colorado using recaptured river water, natural filtration, and some high tech solutions to help protect against drought. 

 

 

http://www.waterchat.com/News/State/10/Q4/state_101022-02.htm

CO: Aurora Water’s Sustainable Water Supply System Complete

Aurora, CO – The city of Aurora recently celebrated the completion of the Prairie Waters Project, an innovative and environmentally friendly water system that was finished ahead of schedule and more than $100 million under budget.

A large Colorado crowd excited to see the completion of the $653 million project gathered Friday, Oct. 8, for the system’s formal dedication. Speakers included Aurora Mayor Ed Tauer, Interim City Manager Nancy Freed, Aurora Water Director Mark Pifher, former Aurora Water Director Peter Binney and CH2M HILL Chairman and CEO Lee McIntire whose company provided design and program management services.

The project is the fastest, most cost-effective and environmentally sustainable way to meet Aurora’s water needs and went from design to completion in just five years. Construction broke ground in July 2007. The system includes 34 miles of 60-inch diameter pipeline, three pump stations, a natural purification area and a new water treatment facility that is one of the most technologically advanced in the country.

Designed to protect the city against drought, like the one in 2002 that left Aurora with only a 9-month supply of water, the system is a forward-looking project that uses a sustainable water source by recapturing river water. Aurora, like many other cities in the state, gets most of its water from mountain runoff, but it’s difficult to predict how much water will be delivered from year to year. Prairie Waters provides the solution. Calling it a “project of a lifetime,” Freed remarked on the visionary nature of Prairie Waters, as it provides a sustainable future for Aurora and protects residents from drought.

The project begins in Brighton, where water is pulled from the South Platte River. Riverbank wells pull the water through sand and gravel to perform the initial cleaning process. Water is then pumped to Aurora where it is treated with multiple water purification steps at the Peter D. Binney Water Purification Facility, including an advanced ultraviolet oxidation process that is among the largest application of UV oxidation in the world. The plant can treat 50 million gallons of water each day.

Both Pifher and Tauer stressed the importance of collaboration during the project and noted that the project demonstrates how working together to develop regionalized water solutions can benefit everyone.

McIntire added that in today’s world of water systems stressed by climate change and aquifers drying up, that Prairie Waters sets a new trend. “This project uses a first of its kind strategy that is an innovative and sustainable approach for new water resources,” he said. “This positions Aurora for the future.”

Binney, the former Aurora Water Director and the driving force in the development of Prairie Waters, said that the water solutions from the 19th and 20th centuries would not address the needs of the Aurora community and many others facing water crisis. It took a creative, sustainable, environmentally conscious approach, utilizing both natural treatment and cutting edge technologies, to deliver the needed solution.

Although Aurora Water utilized some traditional funding mechanisms – $213 million in cash and net bond proceeds of $367 million – the department also sought, and received, funding from some unique sources. The environmentally-friendly nature of the project allowed Aurora Water to create partnerships with conservation agencies who applauded the city’s efforts to design a sustainable project that protected wildlife habitats during construction and use its water resources responsibly. That helped the department secure a low interest $75 million loan from the Colorado Water Conservation Board.

Prairie Waters also provided jobs at a time when economic belts were tightening. As of March 2010, 313 separate companies were contracted for the project, and payroll over the past several years has exceeded $44 million.

Green Water, In The News, Water Purification

Tiny Shrimp in NY, SF, and Boston Tap Water?

New York city tap water has tiny shrimp in it?  According to the New York City Department of Environmental Protection, yes it does, but it’s nothing to be concerned about.  In cities like New York, San Francisco, Boston, and Seattle where the source water for tap water is above federal standards, no filtration is required.  Therefore, tiny marine life is natural and common in their tap water.  The copepods pictured below are small crustaceans that New Yorkers and others are swallowing every day. 

New York’s experts agree that they pose no health risk to humans, but they add that if you are concerned, a simple filter will remove the 1-2 millimeter, invisible shrimp. 

http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2010/09/02/whats-water-tiny-invisible-shrimp/

What’s in Your Water? Probably Tiny Invisible Shrimp

By Jeremy A. Kaplan

Published September 02, 2010

 

Copepods like this one are in every glass of New York city tap water — and that’s nothing to worry about.

Invisible shrimp could very well be living in every drop of water you drink — but that’s OK, they’re nothing to worry about.

A photo posted to the online sharing site Reddit has the Internet abuzz. It shows a tiny animal — a shrimp-like crustacean called a copepod — and announces that the reader found it in his New York City tap water.

"You swallow these invisible shrimp with every gulp of NYC tap water," trumpeted online blog Gizmodo about the discovery. Time magazine‘s website also announced the find breathlessly, exhorting New Yorkers to "drink up" — but noting that the critters may pose a problem for many of the city’s Jewish residents.

"Besides a serious ‘ick’ factor, the copepods are technically crustaceans, which means they aren’t kosher for the city’s large Orthodox, observant Jewish population," the site warned.

It’s all true. There are, indeed, copepods in New York’s drinking water — and the reason they’re there is that the city’s water is superb for drinking. In fact, people across the country with excellent natural water supplies swallow invisible bugs like these every day.

Most copepods are so small — barely 1 to 2 millimeters long — that they’re more or less transparent. And they can be found in most freshwater habitats, including the reservoirs that supply public drinking water to cities like New York.

"It’s one of those interesting facts you learn about local drinking water — but it’s in no way dangerous," Farrell Sklerov, a spokesman for the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), told FoxNews.com.

He explained that many cities filter their water, but if the water quality exceeds federal standards — which New York City tap water does — it doesn’t require filtering, a process that would remove the copepods. Among other cities that don’t filter their water are Boston, San Francisco, Seattle and Portland, Sklerov said.

He said the copepods "pose no risk to human health. It’s not something that’s regulated because there’s no harmful effects from them."

A representative of NOAA’s Fisheries Services explained that copepods are a form of plankton, the minuscule creatures that form the majority of the biomass in the ocean and feed many animals, notably whales.

"There are areas that have blooms of copepods at certain times of year, such as Cape Cod bay in the spring," said NOAA’s Teri Frady. "Right whales eat them, and that’s why you see right whales near Cape Cod at that time of year."

They’re also harmless for humans, though if you’re disturbed, simply pass your water through an ordinary, over-the-counter filter.

Many people do have allergies to crustaceans, the large group of shellfish that includes lobsters, shrimp and copepods, raising the specter of allergic reactions to tap water. That’s probably not a concern, said Clifford W. Bassett, medical director of Allergy and Asthma Care of NY and faculty, NYU School of Medicine and Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine Long Island College Hospital..

"Shellfish allergy has risen to be one of the most common food allergens in the US, in adults. Although not studied formally to my knowledge, in general, there needs to be exposure to an allergen, and be significant enough to cause an immune response in an allergic individual, for symptoms to occur," he told FoxNews.com.

In any event,  I suspect the "dilutional" effects of drinking water most likely would reduce the risk," Bassett said.  

"Any individual who suspects they may have a food allergy should be seen by an allergist for proper evaluation and management of this condition."

And don’t worry. The bugs are kosher.

In a 2004 article in The Jewish Press, Rabbi David Berger, a professor of history at the City University Graduate Center, said, "The notion that God would have forbidden something that no one could know about for thousands of years, thus causing wholesale, unavoidable violation of the Torah, offends our deepest instincts about the character of both the Law and its Author."

So drink up. The shrimp’s on the house.

Bottled Water, In The News, reverse osmosis, Water and Health

Drink Water to Lose Weight

Okay, so that’s not a huge shocker of a headline to most of us, but here’s a pretty easy tip to lose a few pounds based on new Virginia Tech research.  Drinking a half liter (16.9 fl ounces) of water before meals helped the trial participants lose more weight and keep it off.  The researchers haven’t figured out exactly why this works, and there are many possible explanations, but as they say, it works and it’s easy, so give it a shot. 

 

http://www.economist.com/node/16881791?story_id=16881791

Drink till you drop

A magic elixir is shown to promote weight loss

 

CONSUME more water and you will become much healthier, goes an old wives’ tale. Drink a glass of water before meals and you will eat less, goes another. Such prescriptions seem sensible, but they have little rigorous science to back them up.

Until now, that is. A team led by Brenda Davy of Virginia Tech has run the first randomised controlled trial studying the link between water consumption and weight loss. A report on the 12-week trial, published earlier this year, suggested that drinking water before meals does lead to weight loss. At a meeting of the American Chemical Society in Boston this week, Dr Davy unveiled the results of a year-long follow-up study that confirms and expands that finding.

The researchers divided 48 inactive Americans, aged 55 to 75, into two groups. Members of one were told to drink half a litre of water (a bit more than an American pint) shortly before each of three daily meals. The others were given no instructions on what to drink. Before the trial, all participants had been consuming between 1,800 and 2,200 calories a day. When it began, the women’s daily rations were slashed to 1,200 calories, while the men were allowed 1,500. After three months the group that drank water before meals had lost about 7kg (15½lb) each, while those in the thirsty group lost only 5kg.

Dr Davy confidently bats away some obvious doubts about the results. There is no selection bias, she observes, since this is a randomised trial. It is possible that the water displaced sugary drinks in the hydrated group, but this does not explain the weight loss because the calories associated with any fizzy drinks consumed by the other group had to fall within the daily limits. Moreover, the effect seems to be long-lasting. In the subsequent 12 months the participants have been allowed to eat and drink what they like. Those told to drink water during the trial have, however, stuck with the habit—apparently they like it. Strikingly, they have continued to lose weight (around 700g over the year), whereas the others have put it back on.

Why this works is obscure. But work it does. It’s cheap. It’s simple. And unlike so much dietary advice, it seems to be enjoyable too

In The News, reverse osmosis, Water Purification

Drink Water to Lose Weight

Okay, so that’s not a huge shocker of a headline to most of us, but here’s a pretty easy tip to lose a few pounds based on new Virginia Tech research.  Drinking a half liter (16.9 fl ounces) of water before meals helped the trial participants lose more weight and keep it off.  The researchers haven’t figured out exactly why this works, and there are many possible explanations, but as they say, it works and it’s easy, so give it a shot. 

 

http://www.economist.com/node/16881791?story_id=16881791

Drink till you drop

A magic elixir is shown to promote weight loss

 

CONSUME more water and you will become much healthier, goes an old wives’ tale. Drink a glass of water before meals and you will eat less, goes another. Such prescriptions seem sensible, but they have little rigorous science to back them up.

Until now, that is. A team led by Brenda Davy of Virginia Tech has run the first randomised controlled trial studying the link between water consumption and weight loss. A report on the 12-week trial, published earlier this year, suggested that drinking water before meals does lead to weight loss. At a meeting of the American Chemical Society in Boston this week, Dr Davy unveiled the results of a year-long follow-up study that confirms and expands that finding.

The researchers divided 48 inactive Americans, aged 55 to 75, into two groups. Members of one were told to drink half a litre of water (a bit more than an American pint) shortly before each of three daily meals. The others were given no instructions on what to drink. Before the trial, all participants had been consuming between 1,800 and 2,200 calories a day. When it began, the women’s daily rations were slashed to 1,200 calories, while the men were allowed 1,500. After three months the group that drank water before meals had lost about 7kg (15½lb) each, while those in the thirsty group lost only 5kg.

Dr Davy confidently bats away some obvious doubts about the results. There is no selection bias, she observes, since this is a randomised trial. It is possible that the water displaced sugary drinks in the hydrated group, but this does not explain the weight loss because the calories associated with any fizzy drinks consumed by the other group had to fall within the daily limits. Moreover, the effect seems to be long-lasting. In the subsequent 12 months the participants have been allowed to eat and drink what they like. Those told to drink water during the trial have, however, stuck with the habit—apparently they like it. Strikingly, they have continued to lose weight (around 700g over the year), whereas the others have put it back on.

Why this works is obscure. But work it does. It’s cheap. It’s simple. And unlike so much dietary advice, it seems to be enjoyable too

Uncategorized

The Story of Bottled Water

 

Excellent video on bottled water’s growth (and decline).  http://storyofstuff.org/bottledwater/

 

Uncategorized

Antidepressants in the water are making shrimp suicidal

Sorry, but that’s a headline that I just could not resist passing along.  The image of suicidal shrimp forced me to read on.  And, of course, I’m always interested in the effects of water contaminants on humans and the environment. 

Using the same levels of the antidepressant that humans “excrete into waste water,” the scientists discovered that the shrimp were five times more likely to swim towards light than away from it.  Normally shrimp swim away from light because their predators (birds and fishermen) are associated with light. 

As more of our pharmaceuticals find their way into our wastewater, and waterways, I expect we’ll see more of these types of unintended consequences.

 

Antidepressants in the water are making shrimp suicidal

Antidepressants in the water are making shrimp suicidal

Improving human mental health is having some serious unintended consequences for our friends in the ocean. Exposure to antidepressants makes shrimp five times more likely to place themselves in life-threatening situations, and the broader effects could damage the entire ecosystem.

Exposure to the antidepressant fluoxetine causes shrimp to radically alter their behavior. While normal shrimp are more likely to avoid swimming towards light because it’s often associated with prey like birds or fishermen, those exposed to fluoxetine become five times more likely to swim towards light than away from it. That change in behavior places them in harm’s way, and if enough shrimp are exposed to the antidepressant the entire population could be at risk.

Alex Ford, a marine biologist at the UK’s University of Portsmouth, explains how that can reverberate throughout the oceanic ecosystem and why this is a serious concern:

Crustaceans are crucial to the food chain and if shrimps’ natural behaviour is being changed because of antidepressant levels in the sea this could seriously upset the natural balance of the ecosystem. Much of what humans consume you can detect in the water in some concentration. We’re a nation of coffee drinkers and there is a huge amount of caffeine found in waste water, for example. It’s no surprise that what we get from the pharmacy will also be contaminating the country’s waterways.

Ford exposed some shrimp to the same amount of fluoxetine that humans excrete into the waste water that gets carried out to sea. He found that even this seemingly small amount was enough to trigger this major behavioral change in the shrimp. He had been motivated to investigate this question by a parasite that is known to cause such changes by altering serotonin levels in shrimp. He wanted to find out whether the same deleterious result could be obtained using human antidepressants; the answer, sadly, is yes.

He explains how small individual amounts of antidepressants adds up to a big problem:

Effluent [outflowing waste water] is concentrated in river estuaries and coastal areas, which is where shrimps and other marine life live — this means that the shrimps are taking on the excreted drugs of whole towns.

Prescriptions for antidepressants have skyrocketed in recent years, but this is one of the very first attempts to figure out what ecological impact all that pharmaceutical sewage could have. The most worrying part of it all is that this might just be the tip of an ecosystem-altering iceberg – there are lots of other drugs other than fluoxetine that affect serotonin levels, and Ford hasn’t even tested any of those yet to see what they do to shrimp and other marine organisms.

Uncategorized