NEW YORK (MainStreet) — Don’t drink the bottled water. That’s the message that the non-profit organization Environmental Working Group is sending after its reviews of 173 brand of bottled water were, well, a little murky.
According to the EWG, more than half of the brands surveyed in 2010 actually flunked the transparency test, which looked at whether the location of their water source, the treatment methods and the tests to verify the water’s purity were listed on the product’s label or company website.
In total, EWG’s survey shows that 18% of bottled water brands still fail to reveal their water's geographic source and 32% do not disclose treatment methods and purity testing methods. Additionally, researchers found that 13% publish "water quality" reports that completely lack any actual test results.
Only three brands – Gerber Pure Purified Water, Nestle (Stock Quote: NSRGY) Pure Life Purified Water and Penta Ultra-Purified Water – received a decent score for transparency (a ‘B’ grade), but still fell short of an ‘A’ performance since their posted water quality reports were all based on lab tests conducted in 2008.
Conversely, 94 brands flunked the transparency test entirely. Six products – Cumby’s Spring Water, Market Basket Natural Spring Water, O Water Sport Electrolyte Purified Drinking Water, Sahara Premium Drinking Water, Vintage Natural Spring Water and the more widely known Whole Foods (Stock Quote: WFM) Italian Still Mineral Spring Water – tied for the lowest score as all failed to provide consumers with any of the three basic facts about their water, either on labels or on company websites.
Mainstream brands didn’t fare much better. Eight out of the 10 top-selling domestic brands earned a D or an F for transparency. This includes Pepsi's (Stock Quote: PEP) Aquafina brand, Coca-Cola's (Stock Quote: KO) Dasani, Crystal Geyser and five of seven brands produced by Nestlé Waters NA. Nestle’s Arrowhead Mountain Spring Water, another leading brand, earned a C.
The one exception to the less-than-stellar performance by big name bottles came from the aforementioned B earned by Nestle Pure Life Purified Water.
The results, unsurprisingly, led the EWG to recommend that consumers stick to drinking tap water.
“Drink plenty of water, but avoid bottled water when you can,” the EWG said in its report. “It pollutes the environment and is often nothing more than tap water.”
You can find a full list of the ratings on the EWG website.
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