Bottled Water Is A Necessity | Chemical & Engineering News
Volume 87 Issue 49 | p. 4 | Letters
Issue Date: December 7, 2009

Bottled Water Is A Necessity

Department: Letters

THE GOVERNMENT & Policy Concentrate titled "Bottled Water Under Scrutiny" reminded me that there is little guarantee in the purity of water consumed by us every day (C&EN, July 13, page 22). Although tap water is required to be tested, it is not tested at the user end. Water can easily be contaminated in decades-old pipes.

I had a tank of goldfish killed by road salt leaking into tap water. The goldfish tank is now filled with bottled water. A recent Associated Press investigation suggested that 8 to 11% of school water wells do not meet federal safety standards. Bottled water is the only alternative for many schoolchildren. It is extremely important to start mandatory testing of bottled water.

Tin Yau Chan
Edison, N.J.

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I MUST WRITE in defense of keeping bottled water on the market (C&EN, Sept. 21, page 4). In 2004, while I was caring for my husband who had suffered a stroke, an unscrupulous builder gobbled up land behind our home, which was the recharge area for our well. He and another builder built homes on nearly every square inch of the property, including in wetlands.

As a result, the flow of water to our property changed, and we no longer get clean water from our aquifer as we had before the building commenced. Now, all we get out of our tap is dirty and contaminated water from unmanageable surface runoff.

We had to replace five hot-water heaters in two-and-a-half years and install a water filtration system. We change the filters every three weeks, and they are caked with mud. We cannot drink the water that comes out of our tap.

I have gone to our Board of County Supervisors and showed them our filters, that our dishes are being etched, and that the 55-year-warranted nonstick coating on our pans is being sandblasted off in the dishwasher. I won't even go into the structural damage to our home, the inundation of noxious weeds, or the erosion of our land. Despite this, 22 more homes will be built behind our house.

I didn't notice how bad our water was until late 2006 when the hot-water heaters started to break every six months. I figure that we were drinking filthy water and giving it to our pets for at least one-and-a-half years. Two of our dogs died of liver cancer. Who knows what drinking that water from 2004–06 has done to my husband and me.

Because we cannot drink or cook using our tap water, we cannot live without bottled water. The answer to letter writer Brian Trinque's question is not in eliminating bottled water, but rather in how to make a better (safer) bottle.

Janet M. Doyle
Manassas, Va.

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