Bottled Water Won’t Protect you from Chromium-6

dirty bottled waterA few days ago, a Canadian news source put out an article called, “Bottled water not so bad.” Naturally, I was curious. There have been a lot of recent desperate attempts by the bottled water industry to reclaim its hold on the convenience-obsessed, consumer culture of America. The IBWA has put out several videos, such as “The Real Story of Bottled Water,” defending bottled water from the criticism it has received from environmental enthusiasts like Annie Leonard, or Stephanie Soechtig – director of the documentary “Tapped” – who claim that bottled water is an expensive marketing scam that’s bad for the environment. (In case it’s not obvious by now, we tend to agree.)

This article, along with several other recent news sources, claims that bottled water’s environmental footprint is not that bad, when compared to that of other packaged consumer goods. According to the article, “the average bottle of water travels about 250 kilometers from source to shelf.” Hmm… now I know Fiji is not your “average” bottle of water, but last I checked, it was a lot farther than 250 kilometers.  This article also makes the point that bottled water is 100 percent recyclable. The problem, however, is that not much of it is actually recycled. Though the recycling rate of bottled water has risen, according to a recent report, we are still left to deal with the remaining 69 percent that continue to pollute our landfills.

The only seed of hope that I saw in this argument was this: “Plastic beverage containers represent less than one-fifth of one per cent of the waste stream. Bottled water packaging represents 40 per cent of that.”

Perhaps that’s because more people are beginning to realize the wastefulness of plastic bottled beverage consumption. IBWA has proudly reported that the recycling rate of bottled water has increased to 31 percent. Well, of course it has. If fewer people are choosing to drink beverages sold in plastic bottle containers, even if the amount of bottles recycled remains the same, the rate of recycling is bound to increase.

Perhaps you’re a little hesitant to trust the water that comes out of your tap, especially in light of the recent discovery of hexavalent chromium (a.k.a. chromium-vi, or chromium-6) in water, in 31 cities across the U.S. If you think bottled water will save you, think again. Your best bet is to buy a reverse osmosis filter. Even the Environmental Working Group admitted that bottled water will not guarantee protection from this carcinogenic substance.

Once again, the bottled water industry has put its best, most defensive foot forward, but we are still not quite convinced. Nice try, though. Good game.

Ellen DeGeneres Vitamin Water Ads Draw Criticism

bottled water controversy

Ellen’s Caught Up in Vitamin Water Criticism

You can add talk show host Ellen DeGeneres to our list of celebrities who promote bottled water. Ellen is the newest sponsor of Vitamin Water, joining the ranks of other celebrities like 50 Cent and American Idols Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood.

The bottled water debate has been going on for some time, so it’s hardly surprising that yet another celebrity is promoting bottled water. However, it has come as a shock to many of Ellen’s fans, who temper their criticism with kindness.

For instance, Beth Terry over at Fake Plastic Fish began her article thusly: “I love Ellen, but I want her to dump her bottled water advertising contracts.”

Juli Borst, a self-confessed fan of Ellen DeGeneres and blogger at PlasticlessNYC , formed the Facebook group Tell Ellen Degeneres To Dump Bottled Water Advertising! On the group’s page, Juli writes, “We love Ellen Degeneres. But we hate that she is lending her personality to advertisements for bottled water–an industry that is damaging to people, animals, and the planet.”

Stephanie Soechtig, the director of the film Tapped, wrote a piece for the Huffington Post just yesterday entitled, “I’m Done with Celebrity Endorsements“. Having extolled the environmental dangers of bottled water waste in her film, it wasn’t long before Stephanie turned her attention to Ellen DeGeneres and her newfound promotion of bottled water: “We’re so quick to condemn the big corporations that pollute our natural resources, yet we glamorize the very people that endorse the product those corporations are selling.”

From all of the comments in the Facebook group and these articles, it’s obvious that many people do glamorize Ellen Degeneres. She’s not glamorized in the same way as the rest of her Vitamin Water compatriots, nor is she a sex symbol for the brand, like Jennifer Aniston is with SmartWater.

No, Ellen’s fans idolize the talk show host for her kindness, quirkiness, and her compassionate voice. Perhaps they see her as a more down-to-earth celebrity, and for that reason they are dismayed at why she of all people would sponsor Vitamin Water. They want Ellen to use her voice for good.

If you want to make your voice heard, Juli has composed a list of ways you can contact Ellen to urge her to stop promoting bottled water.