IBWA Show Recap

During the last week of September, IBWA’s 47th Annual Convention & Trade Show opened its doors in sunny Orlando, Fla., offering bottled water industry professionals the opportunity to connect and learn about the newest products and technologies available on the bottled water market.

Both educational sessions and tradeshow portions of the event drew strong attendance, offering insight to innovative technologies and industry trends.
This year’s IBWA tradeshow was not held in conjunction with the BevExpo or FoodExpo, providing a good networking environment, bringing together a number of qualified buyers in a close setting.

The IBWA Bottled Water Bar—a must-attend event at the show that made its debut several years ago—was a fun gathering spot for attendees, who sampled a variety of bottled waters provided by IBWA bottler members and chatted with industry experts.

Education

The show offered three days of various educational sessions on the latest technologies, products and services. Attendees had the opportunity to learn about important issues and developments in the industry, and learn new techniques to expand their businesses. The educational sessions were presented by well-known industry leaders in the fields of science, technology and business.

Industry Issues

Proposition 65 bromate listing. The State of California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) Prop 65 bromate listing continues to be among the main topics discussed at the IBWA committee meetings. Prop 65 is a California law, which requires products to carry warning labels for certain listed substances, including bromate. The statute is enforced through civil litigation and plaintiffs frequently sue, forcing the defendants to prove through expensive litigation that their products do not require a warning under Prop 65.

Both the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the California Department of Health Services (DHS) mandate a 10 ppb bottled water standard of quality for bromate. According to the IBWA, products meeting the current FDA, EPA and California 10 ppb bromate standard are safe based on analysis and sound science used to determine the standard. In addition, both the FDA and EPA acknowledge that applying disinfectants to water may result in the presence of disinfection byproducts, using current technology. However, the importance of safeguarding the microbiological quality of bottled water outweighs the minimal long-term risks associated with bromate that may be present in the finished product.

Currently, OEHHA has not set a safe-harbor level for bromate, leaving bottlers at risk of nuisance litigation under Prop 65 even if the level is remotely detectable. The IBWA believes that Prop 65 allows bottled water to be sold without warning labels when it meets the 10 ppb standard. The association is in contact with California officials to clarify the issue and to establish that the 10 ppb bromate standard set by California DHS, FDA and EPA is consistent with Prop 65.

Recycling. Bottled water recycling continues to be a hot topic for the bottled water industry. IBWA demonstrated its efforts to encourage the use of curbside recycling programs, which offer an effective and convenient method to capture a wide variety of recycling materials in addition to water and beverage bottles, by providing recycling bins at the show. The bins were strategically placed throughout areas designated for committee meetings, educational sessions and registration.

Special Events

Other key events at this year’s IBWA show included: Club IBWA Hospitality Suite and Members Reception; the Supplier’s Opening Reception, sponsored by the 2005 IBWA exhibitors; IBWA Chairman’s Gala Event; and Drinking Water Research Foundation Golf Tournament. The variety of special events offered members, attendees and exhibitors the opportunity to catch up with old friends and make some new acquaintances in a relaxed atmosphere.

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