Definition– BeezKneez

Water on Tap

It seems that every person you look at in today’s world has a bottle of water with them. Many people drink bottled water because they believe it is safer than their tap water. Unfortunately, many consumers are not educated about the regulations surrounding the water going into the bottles. In many cases your home’s tap water is actually safer for consumption. 

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates bottled water as a packaged food and has established standards for good manufacturing practices of processing and bottling drinking water. Bottled water manufacturers are not required to disclose the location of the source where the water in the bottle was obtained from. According to the FDA, “Bottled water is described as water thats intended for human consumption and sealed in bottles or other containers with no added ingredients, except that it may contain a safe and suitable antimicrobial agent.” The FDA classifies some bottled water by the origins of Artesian wells, Mineral water, Spring water, and Well water. In fact, some bottled water comes from municipal sources which is the same source as tap water. Before it is bottled, municipal water is usually treated and can be labeled as “purified water” if it has gone through the process of distillation, reverse osmosis, absolute one micron filtration, or ozonation. The FDA is finessing the entire country of America to believe that bottled water is better than tap water. Until today, I was not aware that bottled water is a billion dollar industry that the United States economy could probably not afford to lose. So they are deceiving all of us to make us think that tap water is not good for us when in actuality it is held to higher purification standards than bottled water. The only difference is that you do not have to pay for the water coming out of your home faucet unless you have an annual water bill. 

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sets drinking water standards for tap water provided by public water suppliers. The EPA requires water testing by certified laboratories and all violations must be reported within a designated time frame. Municipal water systems must also provide reports to the consumers including the source of the water and evidence of any contaminates. This was originally established by the Safe Drinking Water Act of 1974. Since then there has been multiple amendments to the Safe Drinking Water Act. The EPA determines safe levels of contaminates in our drinking water and based on these safe level decisions, the FDA can either adopt these standards or ignore them. 

(I know this is no where near 1,000 words)

8 thoughts on “Definition– BeezKneez”

  1. Hey, Beez. Posting a draft on time is way more important than the word count, which is, after all, a totally artificial requirement. I’m glad to have something to analyze, and delighted that you asked for feedback.

    Sorry, it’s my wedding anniversary. I get up at 2am on Market Saturdays. Must sleep now. I’ll be back tomorrow.

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  2. You’re doing fine here, Beez. I could respond in several ways, but I think the most productive might be to react as an impartial reader, not your writing instructor.

    Paragraph 1. (P1.)
    —S1. Yeah, lots of people carry bottled water.
    —S2. Really? I didn’t think people mistrusted their tap water. I figured people just bought water because it was convenient . . . comes in that nice clean bottle they can just throw away when it’s empty.
    —S3. Why? Is there something wrong with the water that goes into the bottles? I never once gave a thought to the water that goes into bottled soda, or bottled tea, or is used to brew the coffee I buy at the convenience store. Why should I wonder about the water in my water?
    —S4. Yeah? My tap water is safer? In what way? What does “in many cases” mean? 5 cases?

    P2.
    —S1. Good. That makes me feel safer.
    —S2. Well, as long as they purify the water before they bottle it, why should I care where it came from? Pure water is pure water. Is my town required to “disclose the location of the source” of the water that comes out of my tap? I’ve never asked.
    —S3. I’m going to guess that you haven’t disclosed all the facts about FDA requirements here. If I started selling used municipal swimming pool water that I labeled as “intended for human consumption,” I’m pretty sure I’d run afoul of some regulations. So, please. let’s be straight with each other here.
    —S4. I think I understand those classifications.
    —S5. I’m not sure I understand what “municipal sources” means, but if tap water is safe, then, OK, I get it; I’m paying for the bottle and the convenience.
    —S6. Are you saying that the water that comes through my tap is “purified water”? Your claim is unclear, but I think the answer is No. So what you ARE saying is that purified water has undergone a lot more purification and treatment that my tap water. So how is it—as you hinted in your first paragraph—less safe?
    —S7. There are a lot of categories in play here. Are you comparing ALL bottled water to tap water? Because you’ve already named several types. I’m starting to not understand what you’re claiming.
    —S8. Oh, I don’t know. I think the US economy would survive. But I agree the bottled water industry has a lot at stake. (Of course, it’s just a portion of the bottled beverage industry, and it would probably just feint left or right, not fold.
    —S9. This claim is very bold. You’re going to have to defend it strenuously. “Tap water is held to higher purification standards that bottled water.” Even without evidence of fraud, that qualitative difference might be enough to make a deliberate consumer choice.
    —S10. Everybody has an annual water bill. But the cost of a few gallons a day would be insignificant compared to the cost of buying an equivalent volume of bottled water.

    P3.
    —S1. That’s good. I like clean public water.
    —S2. Also good. Testing and certification are good.
    —S3. Yeah, well, we all know how sloppy those can be and how little consequence there is for violating them. But, OK. Reports.
    —S4. (Which the current Administration is doing its best to overturn because it’s “burdensome” to provide safe drinking water.)
    —S5. Hang on. Did you say the FDA can “ignore” standards that determine unsafe levels of contaminates?

    I hope it was helpful to hear how a reasonable reader reacts to your claims in real time, BeezKneez. One thing is clear. You’ve spent three paragraphs without identifying a single way in which bottled water is less safe or less well-regulated than tap water.

    That’s too long.

    Maybe you’re a fan of the “long reveal,” in which you hook your reader into a lengthy narrative that compels her to follow you for 1000 or 2000 words through a slow doling out of evidence until you “spring the trap” and reveal that you have snared her into agreeing that your premises lead conclusively to adopting your thesis.

    The trouble is, readers won’t grant you the patience.

    You haven’t indicated that you have evidence that bottled water is unsafe. You have suggested that “in many cases” tap water is safer. But that’s a much less persuasive claim.

    I think there’s a good paper in this material, BeezKneez. But you might have to drive to your evidence much more directly to capture and hold your reader’s interest. If you don’t, the tangential claims you make along the way spark more questions than they answer.

    Your response, please?

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  3. You’ve made massive improvements and additions to your post since I first reviewed it, BK. You haven’t asked any specific questions about it in return for my feedback, so I’m left to wonder what you might want me to consider on this round. I have a backlog of Feedback Please requests that I can’t quite clear because the list grows even while I’m working on it, so I’ll address the aspects of your work that seem most important to me.

    You can improve the effectiveness of this system by asking specific feedback questions.

    This is a bad idea:

    Those laboratories are uncertified for some reason; I’m sure they would have no problem getting paid a little extra to produce an illegitimate water quality report for a company to submit to the Food and Drug Administration.

    Your suspicion may be justified, but your reader will blame YOU, not water bottlers, for thinking like a crook. You are welcome to claim that some labs are more stringent than others. You might find evidence that some certification labs have had their licenses pulled for fraudulent testing. Even weak evidence gives you some justification for casting aspersions on the industry. But without ANY evidence to show, you can’t risk sounding like a conspiracy crank.

    FOR YOUR ASSISTANCE: Page 12 of THIS SOURCE offers a pretty scathing indictment of the situation for certifying labs testing bottled water. Products that are worrisome are referred back to the manufacturers, but it seems rectifying problems is mostly voluntary.

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  4. A big problem with your post that I can’t fix is that you haven’t provided References for me to check. I’d like to evaluate your use of source material, but I can’t until you link me to them. Ideally, when you complete your next revision, you’ll show bibliographic References for your sources AND, even better, link to them in your text.

    When I went looking for material to help you make a less crazy-sounding claim about fraudulent certifications, I couldn’t tell whether the sources I discovered were already among your own. Your White Paper was no help either since it doesn’t NAME the articles, books, or authors in its listings. It does provide links, but that’s asking too much of your reader who wants to scan the titles hoping to help you.

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  5. Your very clever argument raising concerns about DEHP leakage from plastic water bottles uses the reasoning that bottled water is classified as “food,” thereby exempting it from certain safety standards, but doesn’t explain why there isn’t a limitation on DEHP in foods. Is that true?

    Your conspiracy crank shows up again in this sentence:

    I’m sure it would cost more money than packaged food companies are willing to spend if they had to redesign their packaging to avoid plasticizers like DEHP.

    What you do in these remarks is not egregious, but they add up to “a person who sees ulterior motives everywhere.” Such authors are not as trustworthy as those who cite evidence to support their theories.

    This article suggests that the EU and several countries including the US have at times banned plasticizers including DEHP. What’s more, it claims that DEHP has been ADDED TO FOOD DIRECTLY in some cases as a “clouding agent” to make beverages look more appealing. Anyway, a little evidence will go a long way.

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  6. Thank you very much for this feedback. I don’t have any specific questions except how to fix any obvious problems which you luckily addressed. I will provide my references and links asap. Also, thank you for providing me with that source. I’m going to check it out and hopefully incorporate any useful information. As you found out, my white paper is no use and to be honest, I haven’t updated it since your initial request for us to create one. It is still full of invalid sources. As far as the conspiracy crank language, that was my best attempt at including my own thoughts and claims to make the reader adopt my opinion instead of creating their own about the situation. Thank you again for all your help.

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    1. I appreciate your response, Beez.

      Of course you want to include your own point of view on these important subjects. Several alternative phrasings will keep you out of trouble.

      1. “The obvious temptation to skirt these regulations by finding labs willing to provide fraudulent certifications should make us all nervous.”
      2. “To protect the public, the EPA requires testing to be done at certified laboratories. The FDA’s more lax standards, permitting bottlers to choose their own labs, is cause for concern.”

      As usual, the “first person plural” frame of mind is the best way to build camaraderie with your readers, keep them “on your side by staying on their side,” and deflect any suspicion that you might be prejudiced. “We should all be concerned,” or “the industry has given us reason for concern,” are the non-crank phrasings.

      Helpful?

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