California Bill To Mandate Disclosure Of Bottled Water Source, Quality

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is considering a bill that would require bottled water to bear a label clearly stating the source of the water, contact information for the bottler, and the location of recent water quality reports. SB 220 sailed through the California Legislature earlier this month, and would remind bottled water guzzlers that they are shelling out big bucks for a free, public resource.

The confusion has put some companies in hot water. PepsiCo Inc.’s Aquafina brand and Coca-Cola Co.’s Dasani were slammed by consumer and environmental groups for failing to clearly note that their products came from water systems.

Aquafina, which adorns its bottles with a snow-capped mountain design, recently said it would revise its labels to include the phrase “public water sources.” A Coca-Cola spokeswoman said there were no plans to put similar disclosures on Dasani bottles. Both companies cite local supplies as their water’s source on their websites, though neither provides a detailed water quality analysis.

Right now, they don’t have to. Bottled water is regulated as a food product by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, unlike public water systems, which fall under state regulation. The federal government doesn’t demand the level of disclosure that the bill in Sacramento would.

The Governator has until October 14 to decide if consumers have a right to know that their bottled water is the same stuff coming out of the faucet, only 1,000 times more expensive.

Source of water would be clear under new law [L.A. Times]
(Photo: Getty Images)