Bottled water

Bottled water is almost entirely useless. Numerous studies show it to be no safer than tap water 1. This is no surprise considering that one "spring water" was pumped from a parking lot next to a hazardous waste site 2. The FDA itself says that the standards by which it regulates bottled water differ very little from the standards by which the EPA regulates tap water 3. And when the American television show 20/20 conducted a blind taste test of bottled and tap water, tap water won and the most expensive bottled water -- Evian (spells Naive backwards!) -- fared the worst 4.

Thus the production of bottled water is almost entirely wasteful. In 2001, 1.5 million tons of plastic were used to bottle 89 million liters of water 5. Add to this the cost of packaging, shipping, and promotion and you have tremendous waste of natural resources and human activity. To make matters worse, Americans throw out 60 million water bottles a day 6.

So why does bottled water sell? One part of the explanation can be found in the incontrovertible fact that tap water is laden with chemicals of every sort. Problem is, as already noted, bottled water isn't any better, and so either way you cut it, our health and our planet lose out to a system concerned only with making profits. Socialist society, on the other hand, will mean, as Bordiga put it, the "abolition of the enormous mass of anti-social consumption (from the cigarette to aircraft carriers)" and the redirection of humanity's tremendous productive powers towards useful ends.

  1. For instance, in one study of 10 different bottled waters, 38 separate chemicals were found. See "New Study Finds Fault With Some Bottled Waters; Tap Water a Better Bet." Environmental Nutrition 32, no. 1 (January 2009): 3. Another study, this time of 57 bottled waters found in the Cleveland area, found that 15 of the bottled waters were significantly less pure than the local tap water. See "What's Cleaner: Bottled or Tap?" Current Health 1 29, no. 7 (March 2006): 5. 

  2. Potera, Carol. "The Price of Bottled Water." Environmental Health Perspectives 110, no. 2 (February 2002): A 76. 

  3. Bullers, Anne Christiansen. "Bottled Water: Better Than the Tap?" FDA Consumer 36, no. 4 (July 2002): 14. 

  4. Welland, Diane. "Tapping The Truth About Bottled Water Versus What Flows From The Faucet." Environmental Nutrition 30, no. 1 (January 2007): 1-6. 

  5. Potera, Carol. "The Price of Bottled Water." Environmental Health Perspectives 110, no. 2 (February 2002): A 76. 

  6. "Bottles Up!" National Geographic 212, no. 1 (July 2007): 14.