NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Junk Science And Bottled Water

April 8, 1999

The Natural Resources Defense Council, an activist advocacy group, recently released a report claiming that 34 of 103 bottled waters it tested "violated an enforceable state standard" or exceeded some federal or California guidelines.

But knowledgeable scientists condemned the quality of the report, not the bottled water.

Steven Edberg, a professor of laboratory and international medicine at the Yale University School of Medicine, who has sat on most of the Environmental Protection Agency panels that regulate drinking water, said he was "very disappointed" by the NRDC -- adding that the report had "very little substance."

  • A Reuters reporter identified as a medical doctor wrote that some brands of "bottled water sold in the U.S. may contain bacteria" -- ignoring the fact that many bacteria strains are harmless, while others are necessary to human life.
  • Edberg says the type of bacteria found by the NRDC "has no virulence for human beings" and accused the outfit of doing a "terrible disservice."
  • The International Bottled Water Association says there have been "no confirmed reports in the U.S. of illness or diseases linked to bottled water."

In an attempt at a defense, NRDC objected to the association's claim, saying they had located bottled water disease outbreaks in the medical literature. There were only two mentions, however: one in the Marianas Islands and one in Portugal.

Source: Michael Fumento (Hudson Institute), "Bottled Fear Peddled by the NRDC," Washington Times, April 8, 1999.


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