Bottled water

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Bottled mineral water

Bottled water is drinking water (e.g., well water, distilled water, mineral water, or spring water) packaged in plastic or glass water bottles. Bottled water may be carbonated or not. Sizes range from small single serving bottles to large carboys for water coolers.

Global sales[edit]

The global bottled water sales have increased dramatically over the past several decades, reaching a valuation of around $60 billion and a volume of more than 115,000,000 cubic metres (3.0×1010 US gal) in 2006.[1] U.S. sales reached around 30 billion bottles of water in 2008, a slight drop from 2007 levels [2]

The rate of consumption more than quadrupled between 1990 and 2005.[3] Spring water and purified tap water are currently the leading global sellers. By one estimate, approximately 50 billion bottles of water are consumed per annum in the U.S. and around 200 billion bottles globally.[4]

Storage[edit]

Bottled water is often stored as part of an emergency kit in case of natural disaster. Commonly, disaster management experts recommend storing 1-US-gallon (3.8 L) of water per person, per day.[5] This amount is intended to include water for drinking and cooking as well as water for hand washing, washing dishes, and personal hygiene. Factory-containers of water have an indefinite shelf life, as long as they remain unopened and undamaged.[6] The sell-by date is voluntarily and individually set by manufacturers to indicate the length of time that they believe the water will taste and smell fresh, rather than to indicate any issue of contamination or food safety.

Controversy about bottled water[edit]

Health effects[edit]

In the United States, bottled water and tap water are regulated by different federal agencies: the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates bottled water and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulates the quality of tap water. Under the Safe Drinking Water Act the EPA has set maximum contaminant levels for approximately 90 contaminants that might be found in drinking water and 15 secondary maximum contaminant levels.[7]

Often, enforcement and monitoring of water quality is uneven and irregular for both tap water and bottled water. While tap water contamination incidents must be reported promptly to the public, the same is not true for bottled water, and while contamination of bottled water does occur, many instances have never received public notice until recently (see, for example, the list of more than 100 bottled water recalls).[8]

Since the 1950s, tap water is often treated with fluoride to prevent tooth decay. Since bottled water processed with distillation or reverse osmosis lacks fluoride ions which are present in some natural ground water, it is possible that the drinking of distilled water may increase the risk of tooth decay due to a lack of this element now added to many water supplies.[9] Social and scientific issues surrounding the fluoridation of water supplies are discussed in more detail in the articles on water fluoridation and the water fluoridation controversy.

According to a 1999 NRDC study, in which roughly 22 percent of brands were tested, at least one sample of bottled drinking water contained chemical contaminants at levels above strict state health limits. Some of the contaminants found in the study could pose health risks if consumed over a long period of time.[10] The NRDC report conceded that "most waters contained no detectable bacteria, however, and the level of synthetic organic chemicals and inorganic chemicals of concern for which [they] were tested were either below detection limits or well below all applicable standards."[11] Meanwhile, a report by the Drinking Water Research Foundation found that of all samples tested by NRDC, "federal FDA or EPA limits were allegedly exceeded only four times, twice for total coliforms and twice for fluorides."[12]

Studies show that the plastics used for bottles contain chemicals having estrogenic activity, even when they claim otherwise.[13] Although some of the bottled water contained in glass were found polluted with chemicals as well, the researchers believe some of the contamination of water in the plastic containers may have come from the plastic containers.[14] Leaching of chemicals into the water is related to the plastic bottles being exposed to either low or high temperatures.

Bottled water vs carbonated beverages[edit]

Bottled noncarbonated drinking water competes in the marketplace with carbonated beverages (including carbonated water) sold in individual plastic bottles.[15] Consumption of water often is considered a healthier substitute for sodas.[16]

According to the Container Recycling Institute, sales of flavored, non-carbonated drinks are expected to surpass soda sales by 2010.[17] In response, Coca-Cola and Pepsi-Cola have introduced new carbonated drinks that are fortified with vitamins and minerals, Diet Coke Plus and Tava, marketed as "sparkling beverages."[18]

Bottled water versus tap water[edit]

In the United States, bottled water often costs up to $3 per bottle[dubious ], while a similar volume of tap water costs about 0.3 to 0.2 cents per gallon [19]In 1999, according to a NRDC study, U.S. consumers paid between 240 and 10,000 times more per unit volume for bottled water than for tap water.[11] Typically 90 percent or more of the cost paid for bottled water is for things such as bottling, packaging, shipping, marketing, retailing, and profit, but not for the water itself.[20]

In some areas, tap water may contain added fluoride, which helps prevent tooth decay and cavities.[21] Some bottled water manufacturers in the United States add fluoride to their product, or provide a fluoridated bottled water product. The Food and Drug Administration of the United States does not require bottled water manufacturers to list the fluoride content on the label. However, unlike tap water where the amount of fluoride added by municipalities to drinking water is not federally regulated, the FDA has set specific limits for how much fluoride may be found in bottled water.[22] Water fluoridation remains controversial in countries where forced fluoridation is practiced (the United States, United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada, Australia, and a handful of other countries).

Bottled water may have reduced amounts of copper, lead, and other metal contaminants since it does not run through the plumbing pipes where tap water is exposed to metal corrosion, however, this varies by the household and plumbing system.[23]

In a study comparing 57 bottled water samples and tap water samples, all of the tap water samples had a bacterial content under 3 CFUs/mL(colony-forming unit) and the bottled water samples' bacterial content ranged from 0.01-4900 CFUs/mL. Most of the water bottle samples were under 1 CFU/mL, although there were 15 water bottle samples containing 6-4900 CFUs/mL.[21] In another study comparing 25 different bottled waters, most of the samples exceeded the contaminant level set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for mercury, thallium, and thorium.[24]

In much of the developed world chlorine often is added as a disinfectant to water. If the water contains organic matter, this may produce other byproducts in the water such as trihalomethanes and haloacetic acids, resulting in off-smell or taste. The level of residual chlorine found at around 0.0002 g per litre, which is too small to cause any health problems directly.[23] The chlorine concentration recommended by World Health Organization is between 0.0005 and 0.0002 g/L.[25]

The Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club, and World Wildlife Fund have urged their supporters to consume less bottled water. Anti-bottled-water-campaigns and organizations, such as Corporate Accountability International, typically argue that bottled water is no better than tap water, and emphasize the detrimental environmental side-effects of disposable plastic bottles.

The Showtime series Penn & Teller: Bullshit! demonstrated, in a 2003 episode, that in a controlled setting, restaurant diners could not discern between bottled water and water from a garden hose behind the restaurant.[26]

The United Church of Christ, United Church of Canada, National Council of Churches, National Coalition of American Nuns, and Presbyterians for Restoring Creation are among some of the religious organizations that have raised questions about whether or not the "privatization" of water is ethical. They regard the industrial purchase and repackaging at a much higher resale price of a basic resource as an unethical trend.[27]

Another frequent criticism of bottled water is the control of limited water sources by private companies, often with the result of closing access to those resources by local peoples, and the near global monopoly of those resources by a small number of corporations, most particularly Nestlé S.A., the World's largest producer of bottled water.[28][29][30][31][32][33][34][35][36][37][38][39]

The recent documentary Tapped argues against the bottled water industry, asserting that tap water is healthier, more environmentally sustainable, and more ecologically sound than bottled water. The film focuses on the bottled water industry in the United States. The film has received largely positive reviews, and has spawned college campus groups such as Beyond the Bottle. Yet, as many people remain generally unaware of the negative health and environmental impacts associated with bottled water, recent research in environmental psychology has started to investigate how to reduce the public's consumption of bottled water.[40]

Environment[edit]

In February 2012, the Grand Canyon National Park Service has approved a plan that would eliminate the sale of bottled water within 30 days. Visitors can use 10 water stations to refill their own water bottles, which they can tote in from the outside, based on concerns that empty plastic bottles scattered around the park are spoiling views of the natural wonder.[41]

Another environmental factor is the amount of energy used to manufacture and ship the bottled water. The companies must pump the water out of a spring or municipal source, filter it, create the bottles, fill the bottles, package the bottles, store and chill them, and then ship them all over the country. The amount of energy used in the process to create PET bottles is 100,000 megajoules (MJ) per ton of PET. There was 100 billion liters of bottled water sold world wide in 2007 which amounted to 3.8 million tons of PET being produced. That comes to 380 billion MJ used in one year on bottle manufacturing. To put that into perspective, the average household uses about 42,864 MJ a year.[42][43]

Types of bottled water[edit]

The FDA has established "Standards of Identity" for bottled water products sold in the U.S. For a product to be considered “bottled water”, it cannot contain sweeteners or chemical additives (other than flavors, extracts or essences) and must be calorie-free and sugar-free. If flavors, extracts and essences—derived from spice or fruit—are added to the water, these additions must comprise less than 1% by weight of the final product.[44]

Some of the more common types of bottled water are listed below:[45] [46]

This is water that originates from a confined aquifer that has been tapped and in which the water level stands at some height above the top of the aquifer.

This type of water contains fluoride added within the limitations established in the FDA Code of Federal Regulations. This category includes water classified as "For Infants" or "Nursery."

This type of water is from an underground source that is under a pressure equal to or greater than atmospheric pressure.

Mineral water contains at least 250 parts per million total dissolved solids (TDS). It comes from a source tapped at one or more bore holes or spring, and originates from a geologically and physically protected underground water source. No minerals may be added to this water.

This type of water has been produced by distillation, deionization, reverse osmosis, or other suitable processes. Purified water may also be referred to as "demineralized water". It meets the definition of "purified water" in the United States Pharmacopoeia.

Sparkling water contains the same amount of carbon dioxide that it had at emergence from the source. The carbon dioxide may be removed and replenished after treatment.

This type of water comes from an underground formation from which water flows naturally to the Earth's surface.

This type of water meets the requirements under "sterility tests" in the United States Pharmacopoeia.

Well water is taken from a hole tapping, etc. This hole may be bored, drilled, or otherwise constructed in the ground. [47]

Bottled water in the marketplace[edit]

The Beverage Marketing Corporation defines the bottled water market segment as "retail PET, retail bulk, home and office delivery, vending, domestic sparkling and imports", but excluding "flavored and enhanced water."[48] The Plastics Symbol no. 7 is a recent concern worldwide on discovery that large numbers of no.7 plastics are made with Polycarbonate plastic which, experimentally were found to leach bisphenol A. This chemical is a known hormonal disruptor causing miscarriages and birth defects, according to a study conducted by Case Western Reserve scientists. “Synthetic xenoestrogens,” one of which is Bisphenol A or BPA “are linked to breast cancer and uterine cancer in women, decreased testosterone levels in men, and are particularly devastating to babies and young children. BPA has even been linked to insulin resistance and Type 2 Diabetes.” Responsible baby bottle industries are producing BPA-free bottles that are clearly marked.

Purified water vending machines[edit]

Bottle-less drinking water vending machine in Pattaya, Thailand. Customers bring their containers

A number of cities and companies worldwide have vending machines that dispense purified water into customer's own containers. All dispensers filter the location's tap water. In North America, these machines are typically located outside of supermarkets.

Of all the water vending companies, Glacier Water is by far the largest. Since its inception in 1983, Glacier Water has experienced significant growth in machine placements and has created an extensive network of approximately 17,000 water vending machines (year 2010) located throughout the United States and Canada.

Water devices and containers available[edit]

Many plumbers install final purification devices into the homes and businesses of customers. Several methods of treatment are offered, ranging from carbon filtration to reverse osmosis and the degree of filtration ranges from making the tap water more palatable to removal of specific minerals and contaminants. Counter-top filtration systems also are sold in grocery and department stores that make tap water more palatable.

Similar in principle to traditional canteens that have been used for generations, stainless steel containers for carrying one's personal water supply (drawn from the home or public supply) now are being marketed, however, they are built to resemble contemporary water bottles. Whether that is intended symbolically or as an attempt to fit so many products designed for soda cans or plastic bottles, is uncertain. Similar to glass, stainless steel has been proven as a safe container for water or food for generations because they do not leach any contaminants into its contents.

Reverse osmosis water purification systems can remove up to 90% or more of certain inorganic chemicals. These inorganic chemicals include: fluoride, sulfate, nitrate, iron, copper, lead, mercury, arsenic, cadmium, silver and zinc. Reverse osmosis can even remove some microbiological contaminants, including Giardia cysts. However unless equipped with an activated charcoal post-filter, reverse osmosis by itself does not remove dissolved gases and organic chemicals such as radon and trihalomethanes,<http://ag.arizona.edu/pubs/water/az9419.pdf>.

Bottled water service[edit]

An office water cooler with a reusable 5-US-gallon (19 L) bottle

It is not uncommon for business or individuals to subscribe to a bottled water service. These services deliver water either monthly or weekly, sometimes even daily. Traditionally, water in glass bottles (jugs) was provided to electric coolers in areas of businesses without plumbing. Plastic containers have replaced those glass jugs, however, dispensers at businesses now may stand alongside of existing water taps or fountains.

Bottled water by region[edit]

Australia[edit]

The Australasian Bottled Water Institute is a regional member of the International Council of Bottled Water Associations. The bottled water industry in Australia is worth approximately $400 million per year,[49]

An upmarket restaurant in Sydney has stopped selling bottled water and started using a machine costing A$5000 to filter, chill and carbonate tap water to get the same quality water.[50]

Bottled water ban in Bundanoon[edit]

In 2009, the New South Wales town of Bundanoon voted to become the first town in the world to outlaw bottled water.[51] Its citizens voluntarily chose to ban bottled water in response to a bottling company's desire to sell water from the town's local aquifer.[52] The initiative was proposed by local businessman Huw Kingston and carried out by the grassroots organization name Bundy On Tap (the name is a pun which refers to Bundaberg, an Australian brand of rum which is sometimes served as a pre-mixed draught). In a community meeting of 356 of the town's 2,500 residents, all but one voted in favor of the ban,[49] prohibiting the selling or dispensing of bottled water within the town precinct.[53]

Bundanoon's six stores have removed bottled water from their stock. The town now offers public drinking fountains and filtered water dispensers where people can fill up reusable water bottles and canteens. The reusable empty bottles are sold in place of full bottles in the local stores. Bundanoon's bold stand against bottled water's damaging effects on the environment and on communities has thrust it into a global spotlight. Bundanoon has caught the attention of many other cities around the world who soon could have similar policies.[49][54]

The decision to ban bottled water came partly from opposition to the proposed bottling plant, and partly from opposition to the environmental and health impacts. There is skepticism that singling out bottled water is necessarily the best option, as there is a worry that soft drinks will be purchased more frequently in place of bottled water because of the convenience the disposable bottle offers.[49]

European Union[edit]

Directive 2009/54/EC[55] deals with the marketing and exploitation of natural mineral waters in the European Union. The two main types of bottled water recognized are mineral water and spring water.

Broadly speaking, "mineral water" is groundwater that has emerged from the ground and flowed over rock. Treatment of mineral water is restricted to removal of unstable elements such as iron and sulfur compounds. Treatment for such minerals may extend only to filtration or decanting with oxygenation. Free carbon dioxide may be removed only by physical methods, and the regulations for introduction (or reintroduction) of CO2 are strictly defined. Disinfection of natural mineral water is completely prohibited, including the addition of any element that is likely to change bacterial colony counts. If natural mineral water is effervescent, it must be labelled accordingly, depending on the origin of the carbon dioxide: naturally carbonated natural mineral water (no introduction of CO2); natural mineral water fortified with gas from the spring (reintroduction of CO2); carbonated natural mineral water (CO2 added following strict guidelines).

Directive 2001/83/EC[56] deals with bottled water that is considered a "medicinal product" and is thus excluded from the scope of the other regulation.

Bottled Water Refill Station in a Canadian grocery store

Lebanon[edit]

Water is the chief natural resource of Lebanon where the porous fractured limestone of the mountains, both the Mount Lebanon and the Anti-Lebanon ranges, create an excellent aquifer that are replenished over spring and early summer by the melting snow.[57] Lebanon has an advantageous position in the region as far as the amount of rainfall the country receives and water resources available where springs are abundant, due to the exceedingly “fractured geologic rocks,” and where streams amount to a length of 730 km.[58] Lebanon has one of the fastest growth rate of per capita consumption of bottled water.[59]

Lebanon has seven major brands of bottled mineral water for local consumption and for exportation to the water-starved countries on the Arabian Peninsula and in the Persian Gulf:[60] Almaha, Arz Water, Rim Natural Mineral Water, Sabil, Sannine, Sohat and Tannourine.

New Zealand[edit]

Bottled water in New Zealand is regulated by Food Standards Australia New Zealand and must comply with the Food Act 1981. From July 2009 fluoride was allowed to be present in bottled water as an additive or as a natural occurring mineral.

Pakistan[edit]

Due to contaminated water being widespread, in the mid-1980s urban families started installing filtration units at home. This later developed into companies providing mineral water delivery services at home. Use of these 1-US-gallon (3.8 L) bottles that could be attached to a dispenser is still widespread.

Bottled water was made famous by one of the largest marketing campaigns in Pakistan history undertaken by Nestle. Eventually, other bottlers including dozens of local ones, Coca Cola, Pepsi, Nature, Vey, Great Water Islamabad, Dew Drop,[61] and other imported brands such as Evian began marketing in the country.

United States[edit]

The U.S. is the largest consumer market for bottled water in the world, followed by Mexico, China, and Brazil.[62] In 2008, U.S. bottled water sales topped 8.6 billion US gallons (33,000,000 m3) for 28.9% of the U.S. liquid beverage market, exceeding sales of all other beverages except carbonated soft drinks, they are followed by fruit juices, and sports drinks.[48] Americans drink 21 US gallons (79 L) of bottled water per capita per year.[63]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ King, Mike. Bottled Water Global Industry Guide, PR-inside.com, July 7, 2008.
  2. ^ Data from the Beverage Marketing Corporation, 2008, and Bottled and Sold: The Story Behind Our Obsession with Bottled Water (by Peter H. Gleick), Island Press, DC, published 2010.
  3. ^ Li, Ling. Bottled Water Consumption Jumps, Worldwatch Institute. November 8, 2007.
  4. ^ "A Fountain On Every Corner", New York Times. Find A Fountain, May 23, 2008.
  5. ^ Manjoo, Farhad (11 March 2011). "How To Survive an Earthquake". 
  6. ^ Posnick, Lauren M. and Henry Kim (2002). February/March 2002 Ask the Regulators -- Bottled Water Regulation and the FDA. 
  7. ^ "Drinking Water Contaminants | Drinking Water Contaminants | US EPA". Epa.gov. Retrieved 2010-10-15. 
  8. ^ "Bottled Water Recalls". Retrieved 2010-12-20. 
  9. ^ Smith, Michael. Bottled Water Cited as Contributing to Cavity Comeback, MedPage Today, September 19, 2005.
  10. ^ NRDC: Drinking Water FAQ, March 1999.
  11. ^ a b Bottled Water: Pure Drink or Pure Hype?, Natural Resources Defense Council, March 1999.
  12. ^ DWRF Analysis of the February, 1999 Natural Resources Defense Council Report on Bottled Water[dead link], Drinking Water Research Foundation, July 1999.
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  14. ^ Bottled water in plastic containers contaminated from plastic containers
  15. ^ Hamermesh, Daniel. Ban Water Bottles to Reduce Pollution? Come On!, Freakonomics Blog, NYTimes.com, January 19, 2009.
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  17. ^ Gitlitz, Jennifer and Pat Franklin. "Water, Water Everywhere: The growth of non-carbonated beverages in the United States", Container Recycling Institute, February 2007.
  18. ^ Martin, Andrew. Makers of Sodas Try a New Pitch: They're Healthy, The New York Times, March 7, 2007.
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  22. ^ National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Division of Oral Health (January 7, 2011). "Bottled Water and Fluoride". Community Water Fluoridation. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1600 Clifton Rd, Atlanta, GA 30333. Retrieved January 29, 2014. 
  23. ^ a b Petraccia, L., Liberati, G., Masciullo S.G., Grassi, M. & Fraioli, A. "Water, mineral waters and health". Clinical Nutrition 25 (3): 377–385. doi:10.1016/j.clnu.2005.10.002. 
  24. ^ Ikem, A., Odueyungbo, S., Egiebor, N.O., & Nyavor, K. (2001). "Chemical quality of bottled waters from three cities in eastern Alabama". The Science of the Total Environment 285 (1-3): 165–175. doi:10.1016/S0048-9697(01)00915-9. 
  25. ^ World Health Organization, "How to measure chlorine residual in water" WHO - Technical Notes for Emergencies, Technical Note No. 11, 4 Draft revised: 7.1.05 (pdf)
  26. ^ Bottled Water. Penn Jillette, Teller. Bullshit!. Showtime. 2003-03-07. No. 7, season 1.
  27. ^ Paulson, Tom. Thirst for bottled water may hurt environment, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, April 19, 2007.
  28. ^ Little Ego-Gnome: Brand Awareness
  29. ^ Jakarta Globe: Nestle Uses Social Media for Bottled Water, Palm Oil Damage Control
  30. ^ The Council of Canadians Acting for Social Justice: U of A appointment and degree for Nestle Chairman facing international backlash. Over 70 organizations from more than 20 countries condemn Brabeck-Letmathe honorary degree
  31. ^ The Council of Canadians Acting for Social Justice: Nestlé chair invited to join who’s who of water privateers on new University of Alberta water board
  32. ^ INFACT Quebec: University of Alberta to Award Nestlé Chairman Honorary Award. Letter from Carole Dobrich, INFACT Quebec President to University of Alberta President Samarasekara and Chancellor Hughes
  33. ^ Salida Citizen: Stop Nestlé’s water grab, or let them help themselves?
  34. ^ ICMR India (IBS Centre for Management Research): Nestle's Social Irresponsibility in Developing Nations
  35. ^ Glen Arbor Sun: RUMBLES ON ICE MOUNTAIN
  36. ^ Chronicle Extra: Nestle raises stakes in bottled water battle
  37. ^ Press Herald (Maine Today): Water deal too sweet?
  38. ^ US Water News: Group plans water-extraction tax, asks state support
  39. ^ Wicked Local: Water fight already rages over Wekepeke
  40. ^ van der Linden, S. "Exploring Beliefs About Bottled Water and Intentions To Reduce Consumption: The Dual-Effect of Social Norm Activation and Persuasive Information". Environment and Behavior. doi:10.1177/0013916513515239. 
  41. ^ "Grand Canyon to ban bottled water sales". Reuters. February 8, 2012. 
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  43. ^ http://www.eia.gov/tools/faqs/faq.cfm?id=97&t=3. Retrieved 13 Apr 2013.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  44. ^ "Different Types of Bottled Water". 
  45. ^ [4]
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  47. ^ [5]
  48. ^ a b "Smaller categories still saw growth as the U.S. liquid refreshment beverage market shrunk by 2.0% in 2008, Beverage Marketing Corporation reports", press release Beverage Marketing Corporation, 3/30/2009.
  49. ^ a b c d Foley, Meraiah (July 17, 2009). "BUNDANOON JOURNAL; Ban on Bottled Water, Apparently a First, Puts a Small Town on a Big Stage". The New York Times. 
  50. ^ Bennett, Sue (June 21, 2011). "$5 for a glass of tap water as owner cries pour". Sydney Morning Herald. 
  51. ^ Banning the bottle puts Bundy on the map
  52. ^ Foley, Meraiah (July 16, 2009). "Small Australian Town Stands Up for the Tap". The New York Times. 
  53. ^ http://www.bundyontap.com.au
  54. ^ Keen, Judy (October 17, 2007). "Bottled water leaves some cities with a bad taste". USA Today. Retrieved April 1, 2010. 
  55. ^ European Directive 2009/54/EC, June 18, 2009.
  56. ^ Directive 2001/83/EC, November 6, 2001.
  57. ^ The Geology of Lebanon
  58. ^ Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
  59. ^ Plan B Updates - 51: Bottled Water - Pouring Resources Down the Drain | EPI
  60. ^ Lebanon Suffers Massive Water Shortages
  61. ^ Water, Water. "Dew Drop". Prestige Bottlers. Dew Drop. Retrieved 2013-01-26. 
  62. ^ "Changing Consumer Tastes Creates Explosive Growth For Domestic And International Bottled Water Brands - Revenue In 2007 Expected To Reach $5.974 Billion With Growth Set To Climb Higher Through 2012", press release, IBISWorld, May 21, 2008.
  63. ^ "Learn More: Bottled Water". Columbia Water Center. Retrieved 2009-09-15. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]