Tap Water Woes

Pepsi reportedly to print Aquafina source

BOSTON -- A consumer-protection group said pressure on the country's leading sellers of bottled water has lead to a change in product labeling for one corporation, with PepsiCo Inc. reportedly saying it will change the wording on labels for its Aquafina water bottles to say the drink comes from public sourcesthe same sources as tap water.

A spokesperson for Corporate Accountability International, Boston, said Purchase, N.Y.-based PepsiCo told its lead protesters that the bottles will be labeled as coming from public water sources.

We've had a campaign called 'Think Outside the Bottle' for over two years now, Deborah Lapidus, national organizer for Corporate Accountability, told CSP Daily News. We're aiming to galvanize support for the public-water system.

She said that the marketing muscle behind the major bottled-water companies promote the idea that tap water is inferior to bottled water. The organization calls for bottled-water companies inclusive of PepsiCo; Coca-Cola, Atlanta; and Nestle Waters, Greenwich, Conn., to do three things:

Name the sources of its water. Notify the public of any breaches or contamination of its water supplies, much in the same way the group says that public-water suppliers have to. To prohibit corporations from forcing themselves on local municipalities and claiming area resources.

Officials at PepsiCo issued a statement to CSP Daily News: Aquafina is the purest water out there. It is far different from tap water. Aquafina starts with water from public sources, then it goes through a rigorous seven-step purification process to remove substances like chlorides and salts that can affect a water's taste. In tap water, you can find these substances in amounts up to 500 parts-per-million. In Aquafina, you'll find less than 10.

The statement went further to explain its HydRO-7 Purification System, saying the EPA-approved drinking water undergoes a seven-step process to become Aquafina.

1. Pre-filtration: The first filter removes tiny-sized particles in the water.

2. Polishing Filter: The first round of polishing filters catches any smaller particles that get through the pre-filtration step.

3. High-intensity Light: At this stage, a burst of high-intensity light imparts energy to the water stream, which eliminates naturally occurring organic matter in the water.

4. Reverse Osmosis: A process that uses pressure and a hyperfilter to remove over 98% of total dissolved solids (TDS) from the water. TDS measures the sum of all dissolved solids present in water and is measured in parts per million (ppm). Examples of substances that can account for TDS include carbonates, bicarbonates, chlorides, sulfates, phosphates, nitrates, calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium, iron and manganese.

5. Charcoal Filtration: A charcoal filter isolates those trace elements that can affect the taste of water.

6. Polishing Filter: A second polishing filter is designed to make the water crystal clear.

7. Ozonation: The final step passes purified, oxygen-rich air through a generating cell and then three oxygen molecules are brought together as assurance that unwanted particles are kept away. After they've done their job, they revert back to double oxygen molecules, resulting in Aquafina water.

Coca-Cola officials also released a statement, saying, We don't believe that consumers are confused about the source of Dasani water [its bottled-water product]. The label clearly states that it is purified water. In addition, we state on the Dasani website that to create Dasani, Coca-Cola bottlers start with the local water supply, which is then filtered for purity using a state-of-the-art process called reverse osmosis. The purified water is then enhanced with a special blend of minerals for a pure, crisp, fresh taste.

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