Consumers know less about the water they pay dearly for in bottles than what they can drink almost for free from the tap because the two are regulated differently, congressional investigators and nonprofit researchers say in new reports.
Both the Government Accountability Office and the Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit research and advocacy organization, recommend in reports released Wednesday that bottled water be labeled with the same level of information municipal water providers must disclose.
The researchers urged Americans to make bottled water “a distant second choice” to filtered tap water because there isn’t enough information about bottled water. The working group recommends purifying tap water with a commercial filter, however.
Both reports were released at a congressional subcommittee.
Bottled water — an industry worth about $16 billion in sales last year — has been suffering lately as colleges, communities and some governments take measures to limit or ban its consumption. As employers, they are motivated by cost savings and environmental concern because the bottles often are not recycled.