Bottled Water Ban in San Fran

Posted on Jun 23, 2007 - 02:59 PM
By: Adam Beazley

According to Newsweek, the mayor of San Francisco Gavin Newsom signed an executive order banning the use of any city funds to buy single serving plastic water bottles.

The transportation and distribution, developing the plastic for the water bottles, the cost of the water, has a huge environmental and economic impact. As a consequence of the prolific growth in bottled waters, we in the city feel we have a responsibility to address its cost and its environmental impact. We are looking to eliminate completely all of bottled water consumption supported by city money but also to begin an educational campaign to convey the real cost of bottled water, transported half way around the world. We are looking at a marketing campaign showing bottled water compared to a barrel of oil, that shows it takes far more energy to transport the water than the oil.

Of course the bottled water companies are saying that it’s unfair to single out their products, but when you think about it it does make sense. We already pay to have water in our taps—why should we pay to have the same water repackaged and marketed as “more pure” when it is not?

After an extensive amount of research on bottled water and its “purity” claims, we have found that it is actually not as clean as city tap water. According to a study from the Archives of Family Medicine, a journal of the American Medical Association, researchers compared the bacterial content and fluoride levels of 57 samples of bottled water with tap water from each of Cleveland’s four water treatment plants. The results showed that bottled water did not have the recommended amount of fluorides and they had substantially more bacteria counts than that of the tested tap water.

The reason bottled water has more bacterial and is worse for you is simple—it is only regulated by the FDA, which does not conduct any type of testing. City tap water, on the other hand, is heavily regulated by the EPA which has much stricter standards. According to the NRDC study, “even when bottled waters are covered by FDA’s specific bottled water standards, those rules are weaker in many ways than EPA rules that apply to big city tap water.” For instance, if we compare EPA regulations for tap water to FDA’s bottled water rules: (these examples are quotes from the NRDC report)

  • City tap water can have no confirmed E.coli or fecal coliform bacteria. FDA bottled water rules include no such prohibition (a certain amount of any type of coliform bacteria is allowed in bottled water).
  • City tap water, from surface water, must be filtered and disinfected. In contrast, there are no federal filtration or disinfection requirements for bottled water.
  • Most cities using surface water have had to test for Cryptosporidium or Giardia, two common water pathogens that can cause diarrhea and other intestinal problems, yet bottled water companies do not have to do this.
  • City tap water must meet standards for certain important toxic or cancer-causing chemicals, such as phthalate (a chemical that can leach from plastic, including plastic bottles); some in the industry persuaded FDA to exempt bottled water from the regulations regarding these chemicals.
  • City water systems must issue annual “right to know” reports telling consumers what is in their water. Bottlers successfully killed a “right to know” requirement for bottled water.

The Natural Resources Defense Council report concluded that; “Therefore, while much tap water is indeed risky, having compared available data, we conclude that there is no assurance that bottled water is any safer than tap water.”

Not only is bottled water bad to drink, but the bottles and there distribution system is horrible for the environment. First, the bottled are made from plastic, which is an oil derivative, thereby contributing to our dependency on foreign oil. Second, the distribution system to transport these bottles all across the world relies heavily on gasoline engines, thereby adding emissions and pollution into the atmosphere. Lastly, the vast majority of plastic bottles do not get recycled—instead, they end up in landfills where they will produce methane and other poisonous gases as they decompose, thereby increasing greenhouse gases in our atmosphere.

Fortunately, there is a solution for those who do not like the taste of tap water. Water filters... Water filters have come a long way, and with the use of reverse osmosis water filters, you can effectively filter out any particulate matter and unwanted chemicals that the tap water has picked up from the pipes on the way to your tap.  Even though water filters can be expensive, if you were to add up what you spend on bottled water in a year, you would see how much money you would actually be saving from purchasing a good water filter. Now, if you are going to get a water filter, go with the best and get an Aquasana water filter as they have been consistently highly rated.

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Show/Hide Comments (30)

By Alan D. Price, Ph.D. on 06/24/2007

If the mayor is truly concerned with the health of his government employees, then he should stop the fluoridation of his city’s water with toxic waste from the phosphate fertilizer industry, which cannot be allowed to escape into the environment at the manufacturing facility, but is somehow magically allowed to be shipped to San Francisco and other cities to be put in their water supply.  This is a witch’s brew of arsenic, lead, fluoride, and radioactive elements that no one should be forced to drink.

Furthermore, fluoride, which is more toxic than lead or arsenic can only be completely removed by distillation.  Reverse osmosis purification removes about 95%.  To my knowledge the Aquasana filters cannot accomplish this feat.
——-


By nyscof on 06/24/2007

This is good. Now the government officials and agencies who legislate fluoride into the water supply will be forced to drink it themselves.

Fluoride is added to SF’s water supply, not to purify it, but to prevent tooth decay in people. Modern science shows it’s ineffective and harmful to health.

Fluoride chemicals are silicofluorides - waste products of the phosphate fertilizer industry. They are dumped unpurified into water supplies and allowed to have trace amounts of lead, arsenic, mercury and more

Studies link silicofluorides to children’s higher blood lead levels which, in turn, are linked to higher rates of tooth decay.

So tooth decay is on the rise along with fluoride over dose symptoms - dental fluorosis

So drink up San Francisco government officials and make sure your kids do, too. If you are buying bottled water at home to protect your family, you should be protecting all SF by ending water fluoridation.

  http://www.FluorideAction.Net

www.orgsites.com/ny/nyscof


By Margarete on 06/24/2007

There are many studies out there supporting the theory that there is too much fluoride in our tap water =
actually causing osteoporsis and other problems. Only
a certain amt. of fluoride appears to be needed and
we’re definitely being overdosed with it. That’s one
reason why I keep going to spring water. I’m not sure if reverse osmosis gets rid of the fluoride.


By Angela on 06/24/2007

Finally a state taking major action to support our enviornment!


By Adam Beazley on 06/24/2007

Actually from all of the medical journals I have read, they all say that we need flouride in our diet. In fact if you read those test results, they reccomend that if your children only drink bottled water, then you should use some sort of flouride suppliment so they get the flouride they need.
According to the EPA:
Fluoride is a natural element found at varying concentrations in all drinking water and in the soil. It is considered a beneficial nutrient and is present in trace amounts in the body.

So, I have to dissagree, I dont believe flouride is bad, unless of course you are having way too much. But certain procedures are put in place at municipalities to warn the people if too much flouride is accidentally put into the water.


By tamara Suarez on 06/28/2007

I really like the artcle,it clear a lot on my position about bottle water, I owned a coffee house and have been thinking of stopet the selling of it.For all the reasons and more, so with this reading I am much more clear,  but I’ll continue my “investigation”.
Thank you very much.


By steve on 07/12/2007

RO systems do remove flouride. bottled water is overpriced. in most or all cities you can go to grocery stores and fill your own jugs with RO water for anywhere from 20 to 50 cents a gallon. its the same or better quality for a fraction of the price. i work in the bottled water industry, these machines follow the same process as the small bottles of water but on a smaller scale. if you use machines from a company called “GLACIER” your water gets UV treated for bacteria 3 or 4 times before you drink it.


By Connie on 07/22/2007

Leave it to San Francisco to be on the cutting edge of caring for the planet.Santa Barbara, Salt Lake have followed suit and NY city is just about to climb on board.

I just discovered the best alternative yet for the enviornment and our bodies!Discovered in Japan where it has been used in hospitals for over 3o years! check out www.pureionizedalkalinewater.com for more amazing info.


By JoAnne on 10/24/2007

In response to post #5, read post #2. The fluoride that is dumped in our water systems is not a natural fluoride product, it is a by-product of the fertilizer industry. Do a google search on Fluoride, you’ll be ammazed on the number of scientists against fluoridation.


By Adam Beazley on 10/25/2007

Yea JoAnne, you are correct, but not all municipalities use the silicofluoride in their water. Unfortunately some places do, and that silicofluoride is the toxic waste from aluminum manufacturing and municipalities/government officials who are involved in this type of shady practice of toxic waste dumping should be brought up on charges.

I personally live in a city where the water does not undergo fluoridation so my son will need to take fluoride pills.

Also just a quick fact, if you are woried about fluoride then get a reverse osmosis filter, they DO remove fluoride, contrary to commentor #1.


By Barbara Turner on 12/07/2007

We have a great product Water From Air, Atmospheric Water Generators does not deplete ground resources and gives pure drinking water 31ppm naturally occuring oxygen—and NO won’t deplete the atmosphere as there is 3.1 quadrillion gallons of moisture that is recycled naturally; precipitation & evaporation.  Home or office unit produces up to 12 gallons per day and there is a large commercial unit up to 5,000 gallons per day great for golf courses, ships, yachts, nurseries, hotels, casino’s, etc.
Barbara 202-436-5031 check out the website for a bit more info , these are temporary website and the distributor site gives good info on the history, problem with water shortages,etc. and technology www.DroughtSolution.info


By Barbara Turner on 12/07/2007

P.S. by the way, reverse osmosis is tricky:  and its dead water, like distilled where everything is stripped out - no minerals, no oxygen!  but maybe worse, to produce 1 gallon you have to put 4 gallons in and so 3 gallons gets wasted—and some cities, even states like Georgia with severe drought, are asking to have all reverse osmosis systems or filters removed.
Thank you, Barbara


By NeutralExistence.com on 12/08/2007

Barbra,
The mineral and oxygen in water is not really that important to us humans. We get all of the minerals we need from foods and better yet those minerals from food are in a form that is even easier for our bodies to process.

Secondly, the issue with using more water in RO systems is correct, but the 4:1 ratio is an exageration. A RO system doesn’t use enough that you’ll notice it on your water bill. It uses water only while it’s filling its storage tank. When the tank is full, the whole unit shuts down and no water runs to drain.


By Susan, Water Health Blogger on 12/11/2007

It’s not perfect, but San Franscisco is way ahead of the Tampa Bay area! I think it’s good to acknowledge any effort and all and realize that most of us have a lot of bad habits to break.


By Celebrity Foods on 02/29/2008

I am a tap-water drinker and think that wasting good money on bottled water is ridiculous and commend the mayor for taking steps to reduce the wasting of public funds.


By Max on 06/11/2008

I drink tap water and i will still drink it. Thanks for the article.


By glyconutrients on 07/31/2008

Thanks for the article. Ive never been a fan of tap water but this might change my thinking.


By Accupril on 09/22/2008

An excellent resource. You have posted very interesting information. I hope that your site will be developed. Let us more new articles =).


By Jack on 01/30/2009

Beautiful post!! And such a good info. Thanks. ….


By R4 Card on 06/13/2009

I say hooray for San Francisco. Nyscof, I think you should look at the bigger picture here: the amount of pollution caused by bottling and shipping the water over from a place like Fiji and dispose of the impossible to degrade plastic bottles is, I believe, a much bigger problem than fluoridation of tap water. Yes, if fluoride does turn out to do those things, then yes, we should start to work on that. But to rail bitterly against San Francisco for doing something noble and unheard of in any other American city I believe is missing the point.


By Refrigerator Water Filter on 02/02/2010

they end up in landfills where they will produce methane and other poisonous gases as they decompose, thereby increasing greenhouse gases in our atmosphere.


By Reverse Osmosis Filters on 02/23/2010

I was really glad to see Mayor Gavin enact that ordinance. I wish more city governments would also restrict spending on the purchase of bottled water. Bottled Water bottles end up in landfills for primarily an eternity, and is definitely not good for the environment. I have seen recently the new “green” bottle, but I am not sure if it is as biodegradable as they say, and if it can be mass produced. Thanks for a great read!


By Basement Waterproofing on 03/31/2010

I have to dissagree, I dont believe flouride is bad, unless of course you are having way too much. But certain procedures are put in place at municipalities to warn the people if too much flouride is accidentally put into the water.


By wikaniko on 04/02/2010

Not only is bottled water bad to drink, but the bottles and there distribution system is horrible for the environment.


By mercury poisoning symptoms on 05/12/2010

RO systems do remove flouride. bottled water is overpriced. in most or all cities you can go to grocery stores and fill your own jugs with RO water for anywhere from 20 to 50 cents a gallon. its the same or better quality for a fraction of the price. i work in the bottled water industry, these machines follow the same process as the small bottles of water but on a smaller scale. if you use machines from a company called “GLACIER” your water gets UV treated for bacteria 3 or 4 times before you drink it.


By play arcade games on 08/28/2010

I know know my brother always warns me about what they put in water. Its nice to see that somebody is doing something about it


By Bottles and Cans on 12/23/2010

I say get a reusable bottle and a filtered pitcher. I would guess most of the bottled water companies just fill their bottles out of the tap anyway. Spring water?...glacier water?...yeah right. At least this way you have some idea of where the water is coming from and what’s been done to it.(not that tap water really provides any comfort) The other plus is that you are not creating more plastic waste to pollute the environment.


By Boston DUI lawyers on 01/14/2011

I am happy that they are doing this! Taxpayers should not have to pay to support the further destruction of the environment. This is a small step in the right direction. It is time for other to follow suit.


By Mold Removal on 04/01/2011

Hi Adam-

This is absolutely the right thing to do! I know Seattle did the same thing a few years back…2008 I think. Bottled water is the last thing a municipality needs….especially these days!

Public funds will now be spent on things that are really needed…and that’s a good thing.


By Reverse Osmosis Systems on 06/24/2011

We need to do the same thing in Indiana.  Bottled water is not the way to go.


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