IBWA Says ABC ‘20/20’ Program is Wrong About Bottled Water

IBWA stands up for consumer bottled water choice

The International Bottled Water Association released a statement that the ABC-TV program "20/20" on May 6, 2005 aired an inadequately researched and lopsided segment on bottled water that did not provide consumers with the basic facts about this important consumer food product.

Programming lacking balance, as this segment did, is a disservice to consumers who should remain comfortable in choosing bottled water for refreshment and hydration, or in times of natural disaster or emergency.

The good news is that the laboratory tests performed by 20/20 on bottled water came back with flying colors, with all results demonstrating the consistent safety and quality of bottled water. This is a crucial fact that was glossed over in the program. And other good news is that all brands of bottled water fared very well in the consumer taste tests, something attributable to bottled water’s consistent good taste.

20/20’s admittedly "non-scientific" taste test, where some respondents gave New York City tap water high marks, indicates that New York City tap water providers deliver quality drinking water. The 20/20 taste testers also rated bottled water highly.

But consumers in New York and other cities across the United States may choose bottled water because they are not always satisfied with the aesthetic qualities (e.g., taste, odor, color) of their tap water. The five brands of bottled water taste-tested by 20/20 fared well. However, there was not an "apples to apples" comparison in which tap water samples from other municipalities were tasted and compared to New York City tap water.

There are thousands of tap systems across the US, most of which are succeeding in delivering quality drinking water. However, others are faced with occasional "challenges" or natural events such as hurricanes, blizzards or floods that may cause service interruptions. In these cases, consumers, often at the behest of state agencies, have boil or bottled water alerts. The bottled water industry works in partnership with states/localities to provide bottled water to households during these events.

IBWA President Joseph K. Doss summed up the situation saying, "Consumers choose bottled water and view it as a worthwhile expenditure because they appreciate the convenience and good taste of bottled water brands consumed on-the-go, and at the home or the office. However, consumers also benefit from bottled water safety and quality which result from multiple layers of regulation and standards at the federal, state and industry levels."

For more facts about bottled water regulations, safety and other reasons for consumer bottled water choice, visit www.bottledwater.org. Consumers have a right to information that may help them make balanced decisions about their drinking water and beverage choices.

International Bottled Water Association

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