The article states the author's belief that current Food and Drug Administration inspections for bottled water are inadequate. FDA inspections apply to all packaged foods and beverages. The FDA prioritizes its inspections based on risk, and bottled water has been determined to be a low-risk product from a food safety standpoint.
In fact, according to a 2009 Government Accounting Office report (p. 45, state Health Department survey), there has not been a single reported illness from bottled water in the past five years. In contrast, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has estimated there are between 4.2 million and 16.4 million acute gastrointestinal illnesses each year caused by tap water consumption.
In keeping with federal law, FDA testing requirements for bottled water must be as protective of the public health as the Environmental Protection Agency's regulations for municipal water.
The article also overlooks the valuable role bottled water plays during such emergencies as floods, hurricanes, forest fires and even municipal system boil-alerts. Bottled water is indispensable at such times. Without a viable, full-functioning bottled water industry, bottled water for emergencies might be difficult to muster.
Vice President, Communications
International Bottled Water Association