picture by jnlenter
A bottled water producer became uncorked when the Miami-Dade water company placed radio ads that featured a talking faucet. This faucet would gab in a Brooklyn-style accent about the superb quality of water that came from its fellow taps. The vocal faucet would say things like, "Bottled water is not regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency. Tap water is. That's why you always can be sure Miami-Dade tap water is superior. Stop wasting your money!'' This made a particular bottled water company mad enough to threaten legal action.Bottled Water V. The People
Nestle Waters North America, the maker of Zephyrhills brand drinking water, has threatened to sue the Miami-Dade water company unless they pull the ads. A Nestle spokesman called the ads, "an attack on the integrity of the company," and "blatantly wrong." Nestle also demanded that the county promise, in writing, not to run the ads again. The ads, however, stopped running a month ago. There are no plans to rerun the ads. The county considers this near-legal ordeal moot.
Bottled Water Strikes Back
The good folks at Nestle have been testing the Miami-Dade county water in attempt to prove that their products are superior and are pondering whether to take other legal action. The International Bottled Water Association has sided with Nestle. Joe Doss, president of the IBWA, called Nestle's demands "understandable" and said that he "considered taking similar action."
Why So Mad At The Tap Water Ads?
Miami-Dade aired these ads in order to inform immigrants who hail from places with no potable water that the tap water is safe to drink. And it is true that the EPA doesn't regulate bottled water. That's the FDA's job. The EPA's standards are higher than the FDA's. County water must be tested more often than bottled water. For all we know, Nestle could test its water more than the county if it felt like it. (You know, for fun.) Plastic-encased bottled water is also bad for the environment, but that issue never even came up.
Environmental Groups Bash Bottled Water
Many people think that this lawsuit threat is a stunt to scare other water companies from advertising. The economy is slumping, environmental concerns are turning people away from bottled water and the cost of doing business has been rising.
Some Last Words About Bottled Water
Linda Young of the Florida Clean Water Network said this, which I think sums everything up nicely:
"Tap water is superior in some ways. It's right there in your house. If these companies think they're going to come into Florida and threaten citizens or governments when we give an opinion, that's another reason to make them leave."
More on Bottled Water
Greenwash Watch: "Green" Bottled Water
Pablo Calculates the True Cost of Bottled Water
A World of Reasons to Ditch Bottled Water