Video: The Story of Bottled Water

March 22, 2010 § 3 Comments

Released for World Water Day, here’s The Story of Bottled Water – a short animated video on what’s so pernicious about all that ubiquitous plastic bottled water. The film is made by the folks who brought us The Story of Stuff, and is narrated by Annie Leonard. 

The solution is to drink tap water, of course, and to get involved in campaigns like Food and Water Watch‘s Take Back The Tap. For more videos on this subject, also watch Tapped, Aguas con el Agua, and The Water Front.

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§ 3 Responses to Video: The Story of Bottled Water

  • David says:

    Joe, good video link. I agree with a lot, but as an economics teacher, I was irritated at the concept of “manufactured demand.” This concept assumes that consumers are too stupid to look at advertising critically. I believe that people understand that bottled water is convenient and relatively cheap. That is why they buy it, not because they are lemmings. The solution is that quality designed and aesthetically pleasing public drinking fountains need to be much more prevalent.

    At my high school, there is only a few drinking fountains that are tucked in corners with rusted metal fixtures and chipped paint for about 3000 students, but a multitude of bottled water dispensers. So much wrong with that beyond the fact the dehydration destroys concentration. Oh well, that is the good LAUSD…

  • Wow David, you mean all this mass consumption in the USA is the result of critical thought?

    I stay away from bottled water, but that’s mostly because I won’t buy the cow when tap water is (almost) free.

  • LA MapNerd says:

    Personally, I wouldn’t recommend drinking tap water as a solution until you take a careful look at the Water Quality Report that your local utility provides.

    There’s a difference – sometimes a BIG differerence – between “meets all State and Federal standards” and “is clean, pure and safe to drink”.

    Water quality standards are often set by what is”technologically and economically feasible”, not what’s safe.

    As a case in point, take a look at the LADWP’s current water quality report. Note the (sometimes huge) differences between some of the “Public Health Goals” (PHGs) – the level of a contaminant at which there is no known risk to health or safety – and the Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCLs), the levels permitted by the standards.

    In the LADWP report, pay particular attention to arsenic. The levels of arsenic permitted – and commonly present in LADWP tap water – are well above levels known to cause adverse health affects.

    This is a common problem in many municipal tap water supplies. Arsenic is a natural contaminant, caused by leaching of natural arsenate minerals, so there’s no practical method of source reduction, and removing the arsenic would make tap water cost almost as much as bottled water.

    And for the vast majority of tap water uses – flushing toilets, washing clothes, watering landscaping, washing dishes – a bit of arsenic isn’t a problem.

    But for drinking water, it’s a genuinely serious concern.

    Arsenic isn’t the only problem – see also trichloroethene, tetrachloroethylene. lead, copper, trihalomethane…

    And none of those those things are removed by simple faucet or pitcher ‘taste filters.’

    But all of them are effectively removed by the purification processes that bottled “purified water” (Aquafina, Dasani, etc.) undergoes – the same purification processes used for the water that goes into Coke, Pepsi and other bottled soft drinks.

    Drinking water, rather than sugared sodas, is good for your health. But water drinkers shouldn’t have to give up safety and purity. Arsenic is not good for your health.

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