Bottled Water Scorecard: Filtered Tap Water Over Bottled Water

EWG Bottled Water ScorecardThe Environmental Working Group recently published a 2011 Bottled Water Scorecard that surveys 173 bottled water brands in an effort to find the source of the water, as well as if any further water purification is done.

Here are just a few surprising facts from the bottled water scorecard:

  • 18 percent of bottled water brands do not reveal their source.
  • 32 percent of bottled water brands surveyed do not provide info on water treatment.
  • Less than 1/4 of brands surveyed comply with California’s labeling law.
  • Aquafina and Dasani received a D; Fiji and Evian received a C.

Want to see how your favorite brand of bottled water stacks up? The EWG has a long, comprehensive list of bottled water brands on its bottled water scorecard. The brands are judged on their transparency (including source, purification and testing) as well as any advanced treatment. Under these metrics, no brand scored greater than a C overall. Filtered tap water received an A, which was the highest score the EWG provided.

The EWG published a similar bottled water scorecard in 2009. For the most part, bottled water brands did not become any more transparent in the year’s time between the two scorecards. Still, the EWG hopes that the survey will lead to stronger standards for bottled water brands.

Should the GOP Cut Bottled Water Budget?

Deer Park Bottled WaterIn just the first quarter of last year, the House spent a whopping $190,000 on bottled water ($120,000 of that went to Deer Park water). John Boehner, the new house speaker, says he will move to cut budgets by 5 percent starting tomorrow. Will the bottled water budget be included in these cuts?

Bradford Fitch, the CEO of the Congressional Management Foundation, maintains that the House’s consumption of bottled water is not a luxury, but a necessity due to “D.C. tap water’s reputation.”

Washington, D.C.’s tap water reputation was certainly sullied when it was discovered that the tap water contained unsafe levels of lead.

But DC tap water has come a long way in the last few years. In a blind taste test, DC tap water was preferred over bottled water. DC Water has also set up new facilities around town, and they’ve become more transparent.  DC Water’s FAQ page addresses and answers concerns about various contaminants. It specifically details what DC water is doing to ensure lead doesn’t enter into home tap water.

Is all of this enough to convince the House to scale back on their bottled water consumption? Should it be? And what does it say about Congress if they’re content to let DC residents drink tap water that they themselves will not drink or attempt to fix?

Tea Bag Water Filter

nanoteabag

IMAGE CREDIT: emerginggreen.wordpress.com

You wake up one morning,  head to the kitchen and place a tea bag in your cup. Are you drinking green, black, oolong? Or is that tea bag filled with activated carbon, leaving you not with tea but with clean drinking water?

The newly designed “Tea Bag Water Filter” does just that. The filter uses a basic tea bag design to contain activated carbon, which can remove chemical contaminants. This is why so many of our water filters use some form of carbon. Carbon can adsorb (not absorb) chlorine, lead, mercury, zinc and more, and it is  used in Brita pitchers, inline filters, fridge filters, RO systems and even air filters.

But the tea bag water filter doesn’t stop there. The prototype, designed by Stellenbosch University’s Professor Cloete, also uses a biocide on the outside of the bag to kill off bacteria. Cloete cautions that “all technology has its limits,” but he also says that they have yet to find a bacteria the tea bag water purifier can’t kill.

Perhaps the most attractive aspect of the water filter is its ease of use. The filter attaches to the neck of a standard water bottle, so you have only to place it in your bottle, fill it up, and you’ve got filtered water at your fingertips.

So where can you buy the tea bag water filter? Not at FiltersFast— yet. The tea bag water filter is currently in production, though Cloete is working with manufacturers and hopes to have a version ready for sale by next month.

When you do purchase the teabag filter, you might be able to take comfort in the fact that your purchase also supports clean water initiatives in developing countries. Cloete hopes that a surcharge can be added to the purchase price so that a portion of all sales will lessen costs of the units for citizens of developing countries who may not otherwise be able to afford them.

Update: It appears this filter is not widely available at online and retail stores. We will keep you posted.