ask us why we write articles which are critical of various aspects of
the water industry---particularly when we ourselves are a part of that
answer is really quite simple. For the past decade or so, the State
and Federal Governments has allowed the water industry to be "self-regulating".
In essence, the government has said "
you guys have a problem with your product or your industry---clean it
up and let Big Brother stay out of the problem if possible".
much of the water industry has taken that mandate and turned it inside
out---permitting lax advertising and product integrity standards within
it's own ranks---looking the other way when questionable products or
sales tactics are employed by "paid-up members" of reputable
general, much of the water industry has been scheming up clever(but
so-far legal) ways to mislead the public into believing they are buying
so-called "pure water" when in fact only the words say "pure"
and the actual product's resemblance to "pure" is only a fantasy.
double-speak activity by the water industry has led some astute legislators
across the country to introduce legislation to better control and monitor
water products, water quality and water salesperson activities. Dozens
of states now have legislation in place or pending which would penalize
water vendors or distributors for misrepresentation of their products.
you being misled by the labeling on bottled water---by signs on vending
machines, by water delivery operations or water stores which specialize
in "pure" drinking water?
say the chances are probably quite good that you are not getting the
straight truth in most situations where water purity or equipment performance
is discussed or documented. Basically, what you may be hearing or seeing
is not what you think you are getting.
yes, the water may say "sodium free, very low sodium, or even "low
sodium", for example---but the truth may be far from what you perceive
this label to mean.
example: since the FDA has no single sodium standard for bottled water,
the bottled water industry has taken advantage of this fact and for
labels which may say "low sodium", the actual sodium level
may range up to 592 mg/liter of water.
the 6 million plus Americans who adhere to physician-prescribed sodium
limiting diets, this is a total disaster! A consumer who is limited
by a therapeutic diet of 0.5 and 1 gram of sodium/day will consume in
excess of his or her sodium allotment daily by simply grabbing a bottle
of water from the grocery shelf which says "low sodium".
is this happening? Simple. There are very few, if any, natural sources
of drinking water which contain little or no sodium. Bottlers must get
water to sell to the public---and if, by clever labeling they can use
less than perfect or less then clean water sources, even tap water,
for the bottled water product---well, you get the idea.
"sodium free" labeling permits up to 20 mg of sodium per liter.
Therefore, bottlers, water vendors, water stores and others are free
to state that their products are "sodium free" and still sell
you water that contains up to 20 mg of sodium per liter! That is certainly
NOT PURE WATER.
bottlers and the water industry are very sensitive about this subject
and have, in our opinion, collectively attempted to delude the public
into buying products which are really not what they are advertised to
Irina Cech of the School of Public Health at the University of Texas
Health Science Center put it this way: "...the labels of (water)
bottles are fanciful, but (are) not very informative and sometimes outright
misleading...it would be more appropriate for manufacturers to stay
with the facts".
federal regulations do not require bottled water manufacturers to disclose
on the label the source of their water, some pretty exotic, far-fetched
labels exist. One water says the source is "located 53 stories
below the earth's surface". The list of other, speciously-designed
labels and descriptions could fill a small book. In Houston, for example,
a water product shows a sparkling mountain stream---implying that the
water is from some mountain spring---whereas the small print at the
bottom says the source of the water is the Houston municipal water system.
sodium is currently a topic of substantial interest, we will list those
sources of water which you can obtain locally---with the possible range
of sodium to be found in them---regardless of what the salesperson or
label may imply:
tap water: sodium levels currently ranging from 50 to 200 mg/liter;
water" at vending machines: 50-200 mg/liter;
water" at vending machines: 5-20 mg/liter;
water" purchased from grocery stores: 50-1000 mg/liter(or as specified
in the small print on the label);
water" as purchased in grocery stores: 0-200 mg/liter depending
on tap water source used; "purified water" as sold by water
stores using reverse osmosis: up to 10 mg/liter;
water" as sold by water stores using steam distillation: less than
processed by home "filtration systems(carbon)": up to 200
mg/liter or what your tap water may contain;
processed by home "reverse osmosis" systems combined with
home water softeners: 25-500 mg/liter depending on condition of reverse
processed by home water steam distillation systems: less than 2 mg/liter
regardless of incoming water condition
the composition of the water you are purchasing as well as the technique
used will help you select the type of water(and vendor) to match your