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Bottled water less regulated than tap water

July 8, 2009

One more reason to rethink buying water in single serving bottles.  Bottled water is regulated by the FDA while tap water is regulated by stricter EPA regulations.  FDA is poorly equipped to enforce it’s own regulations – just look at how well they are doing at keeping the food supply safe – how often do we hear about salmonella, e coli or melamine contaminated food products.   

Stricter labeling urged for bottled water

By EMILY FREDRIX, AP Food Industry Writer
Read entire article here:

Consumers know less about the water they pay dearly for in bottles than what they can drink almost for free from the tap because the two are regulated differently, congressional investigators and nonprofit researchers say in new reports.

  • As a food product, bottled water is regulated by the Food and Drug Administration and required to show nutrition information and ingredients on its labels. Municipal water is under the control of the Environmental Protection Agency.
  • The two agencies have similar standards for water quality, but the FDA has less authority to enforce them, the GAO said, and the environmental agency requires much more testing.
  • “Consumers may not realize that many regulations that apply to municipalities responsible for tap water do not apply to companies that produce bottled water,” Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich said in statements opening the hearing.
  • The GAO noted the FDA has yet to set standards for DEHP, one of several chemicals known as phthalates that are found in many household products, while the EPA limits the presence of phthalates in tap water.
  • State safeguards for bottled water often exceed the federal, though they are less stringent than for tap water, the GAO wrote.
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