Issue Date: July 13, 2009
Bottled Water Under Scrutiny
The Government Accountability Office has found key differences between EPA's regulation of tap water and FDA's regulation of bottled water. In particular, GAO reports that FDA does not have the authority to require bottled water companies to use certified laboratories to test their water quality or to report their test results. In contrast, certified labs must be used to test tap water and suppliers of tap water must provide customers with annual reports about the quality of their water. At a July 8 hearing of the House Energy & Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Oversight & Investigations, Chairman Bart T. Stupak (D.-Mich.) said that the subcommittee would be sending out letters to a dozen bottled water companies asking for information on the source of their water, treatment methods, and the presence of any contaminants. The congressional action was spurred by the GAO findings, as well as by a report from the Environmental Working Group, a Washington, D.C.-based advocacy organization, which found that only two of 188 bottled water companies provide customers with such information.
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