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Virginians Encouraged to "Think Outside the Bottle"

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July 30, 2007

One in five Virginians won't turn on the tap for a glass of water today, they'll buy a bottle of water instead. That's according to Corporate Accountability International, which is asking people to think twice about the choice. Patti Lynn with the group says its worth some thought because almost half of bottled-water companies use the same public tap water available locally.

"Much of the advertising ends up convincing people that bottled water is somehow safer, or healthier, or purer than tap water. And that's simply not true."

Pepsi has just agreed to spell out on their Aquafina brand labels that the water comes from public sources, although they promote it as filtered. Lynn argues that other concerns about bottled water include the plastic bottle garbage generated, and the fact that bottled-water companies don't have to report breaches in water quality while public water supplies have to keep the public informed when water quality is compromised.

Lynn adds that another issue is who controls water. She doesn't think it's in the public's best interest to have for-profit companies in charge of a resource that's already stretched thin.

"The concern in that trend is that people turning to corporations to provide their water really can pave the way for corporations controlling our water."

The three biggest bottled-water companies are Pepsi, Coke and Nestle. More information is available at www.stopcorporateabuse.org/cms/page1559.cfm.

Deborah Smith/Eric Mack, Public News Service - VA