Lautenberg's Bill to Keep Bottled Water Honest

U.S. Senator Frank R. Lautenberg (D-N.J.) on Sept. 10 introduced a bill to provide consumers critical information about the origin and quality of the bottled water they are drinking—and the impact producing and disposing of these bottles has on the environment. Lautenberg introduced his bill while chairing a hearing in the Environment and Public Works Subcommittee on Transportation Safety, Infrastructure Security and Water Quality.

"Americans deserve to know what's in their water. Bottled water has become so popular—and so much a part of our culture—the public has a right to know where it comes from and how it's treated," Lautenberg said. "Our bill would make sure they get that information."

The Bottled Water Right-to-Know Act would require bottled water manufacturers to display the quality and source of the water and type of treatment that the water has undergone on the bottles they sell. The bill also requires that manufacturers submit information about their bottled water's origins and quality to the Food and Drug Administration and that information be accessible to the public.

In 2007, Americans spent more than $11 billion on bottled water, up from $8 billion in 2005. Today, more than half of all Americans consume bottled water and Americans have come to rely on it during emergencies.

While some bottlers may use additional treatment to clean the water, almost 40 percent of bottled water comes from municipal water sources. Manufacturing bottled water also contributes to lasting environmental costs. Some 2.7 million tons of plastic are used each year to produce the nation's water bottles and the vast majority of this ends up in landfills.

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