Visual Rewrite– BeezKneez

End Family Fire

 

0:01 – The ad starts off with an older cartoon clip of a mouse driving a steam train that is pulling cars full of bars of gold. The train is just coming out of a tunnel and is continuing through a green meadow.

0:02 – The camera zooms out of the tv to show us a nicely dressed father (probably heading to work) reaching down to wake up his son who fell asleep on the floor while watching the cartoon. The inside of their home looks very nice. Probably a middle class family. The sleeping boy is about 5 years old. The boy’s toy rhino is on the floor underneath the coffee table along with some other toys.

0:03 – The camera moves closer as the father touches the boy’s sides to wake him up. The boy moves and is about to get up.

0:04 – The father keeps tickling the boy’s sides. The boy turns towards the camera and is laughing with joy. We see that the boy has drawing of a rainbow sitting on the coffee table along with markers and a notebook.

0:05 – The camera switches to us looking at the father’s face while still tickling his son. The father is smiling. There is a mirror on the wall behind him with the reflection of a chandelier in it.

0:06- 0:07 – The father stands up and begins to walk away while the boy remains laying on the ground. The boy is laying on his back now looking up instead of sleeping on his stomach like before.

0:10 – The boy is still laying on the floor but turns his head to see where his father is going.

0:11 – The father is walking towards a wooden counter top in the kitchen. There is a glass of water  sitting on the counter along with a knife and the core of an apple.

0:15 – The father walks to the sink where he begins to roll up his sleeves and looks back in the direction of his son. The kitchen has dark wooden cabinets and there are windows above the sink.

0:16 – The camera switches back to the boy who is now standing up looking at his father. He asks him something. His facial expression is very innocent looking.

0:17 – Words appear on the screen that say, “8 kids a day are accidentally killed or injured by FAMILY FIRE.”

0:23 – The words change to say “FAMILY FIRE is a shooting involving an improperly stored gun.”

Bibliography– BeezKneez

  1. Goodman, S. (2009, July 09). Fewer Regulations for Bottled Water Than Tap, GAO Says. Retrieved from  https://archive.nytimes.com/www.nytimes.com/gwire/2009/07/09/09greenwire-fewer-regulations-for-bottled-water-than-tap-g-33331.html

Background: This New York Times article written by Sara Goodman discusses a statement given by John Stephenson, the Director of Natural Resources and Environment for the Government Accountability Office, in a testimony before the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, Committee on Energy and Commerce, and the House of Representatives. She clarifies the roles the EPA and FDA play when it comes to ensuring the safety of tap and bottled water.

How I Used It: This article informed me that the EPA regulates tap water and the FDA regulates bottled water. It also made me aware of the fact that the FDA lacks the regulatory authority of the EPA. I was able to use this information to expose that bottled water is not required to be safer than tap water because of gaps in federal oversight authority. The article also touches on the subject of a chemical known as DEHP which is used in the production of plastic bottles. The mention of this chemical inspired me to research its effect on our health.

2. Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. (n.d.). Consumers – FDA Regulates the Safety of Bottled Water Beverages Including Flavored Water and Nutrient-Added Water Beverages. Retrieved from https://www.fda.gov/food/resourcesforyou/consumers/ucm046894.htm

Background: This article was published by the FDA and does not list a specific author. It lists good manufacturing practices required specifically for bottled water. It also indicates which products are considered bottled water based on their label.

How I Used It: This article did not provide me with any information in support of my claims or in rebuttal of them. It was useful in providing background information and specific classifications of bottled water types.

3. Huerta-Saenz, L., Irigoyen, M., Benavides, J., & Mendoza, M. (2011, June 04). Tap or Bottled Water: Drinking Preferences Among Urban Minority Children and Adolescents. Retrieved from https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10900-011-9415-1

Background: This research study focuses on drinking water preferences among urban minority children and adolescents. While doing so, it provides valuable information about fluoride added to tap water, the cost of drinking bottled water, and the effects of DEHP on children. It also touches on the negative impact bottled water has on the environment and that bottled water is a billion dollar industry. The study also comes to the conclusion that bottled water is the preferred choice of drinking water by all age groups in the low income urban city they surveyed. This is because bottled water was perceived to be of higher quality and felt to have a better taste.

How I Used It: Although I was unable to incorporate the information about the correlation of ethnicity and drinking water preferences, I was able to utilize other valuable information this study provided. It informed me that the addition of fluoride to tap water helps prevent tooth decay in children while the absence of fluoride in bottled water can potentially promote tooth decay. The study really gave me knowledge on the harmful effects of a commonly used plasticizer called DEHP that is used to create plastic water bottles. This study informed me that DEHP causes endocrine and developmental problems in growing children. This study also gave me insight to look into the way bottled water is perceived by consumers and advertising techniques used by bottled water brands.

4. Postman, A. (2016, January 5). The Truth About Tap. Retrieved from https://www.nrdc.org/stories/truth-about-tap

Background: This article was written by Andrew Postman, a member of the Natural Resources Defense Council, and was published on their website. This article discusses clever marketing techniques used by bottled water companies to promote sales. It also goes over how water is regulated and how tap water is held at a higher standard compared to bottled water. Additionally, Postman discusses the effects of phthalates such as DEHP used to create plastic bottles.

How I Used It: I was able to use the information from this article to gain more knowledge of advertising tactics used by bottled water brands. They sell the image of “pure and natural” water that many consumers buy. This article provided me with evidence crucial to supporting the claims of negative effects of DEHP and the lack of any limits of use set by the FDA.

5. Office of the Commissioner. (2010, June 28). Consumer Updates – Bottled Water Everywhere: Keeping it Safe. Retrieved from https://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm203620.htm

Background: This article outlines the regulations that focus on bottled water according to the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. This act makes the manufacturers of bottled water responsible for producing safe, wholesome, and truthfully labeled food products. It also goes into in depth explanations of the different classifications of bottled water.

How I Used It: Most of this article provided background knowledge or went over information I had already gained from other sources.

6. Office, U. G., & Stephenson, J. (2009, July 07). Bottled Water: FDA Safety and Consumer Protections Are Often Less Stringent Than Comparable EPA Protections for Tap Water. Retrieved from https://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-09-610

Background: This is the actual statement given by John Stephenson, the Director of Natural Resources and Environment for the Government Accountability Office, in his testimony before the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, Committee on Energy and Commerce, and the House of Representatives. He discusses the quality and safety of bottled water along with its environmental impacts. Stephenson reports the extent to which federal and state authorities regulate bottled water to ensure its safety, extent to which federal and state authorities regulate the accuracy of labels or claims regarding the source and purity of bottled water, and the environmental impacts of bottled water.

How I Used It: This statement provided me with the knowledge that the FDA does not have specific statutory authority over bottled water companies to require them to use certified water testing laboratories for water quality reports. It also informed me that the FDA does not have the authority to require bottled water companies to notify the FDA when there is a contamination issue with their water. Stephenson made me aware of how little information is provided on the labels of water bottles and that water bottle companies are not required to divulge any information about their water to consumers unless they choose to do so.

7. Ground Water and Drinking Water. (2005, November 30). Retrieved from http://www.epa.gov/safewater

Background: This article was published by the EPA and provides information about tap water. Specifically, it discusses whether or not we should have our water tested, how frequently our water needs to be tested, and the specific elements to test our water for.

How I Used It: I used the information from this article to provide facts about proper precautions to take when it comes to the use of private wells for drinking water.

[This is the first flaw I have found in an exemplary Annotated Bibliography, BeezKneez. It identifies a topic (what precautions to take) instead of claims (“It suggests boiling well water to eliminate common bacteria.”) —DSH]

8. Agency, E. P. (2005). Home water treatment facts pg – US EPA. Retrieved from https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2015-11/documents/2005_11_17_faq_fs_healthseries_filtration.pdf

Background: This article was also published by the EPA to provide detailed information to consumers on various home water filtration systems. It encourages home owners to inquire about the contents of their tap water by asking their water supplier for their annual water quality report.

How I Used It: This article was useful in providing background knowledge about tap water. It also provided me with more detailed information about home water filtration systems when discussing how to properly care for our homes’ tap water.

[And this is the second, for the same reason. But it comes after more than enough impressive entries to make me not care. —DSH]

9. Bullers, A. C. (n.d.). Bottled Water: Better Than the Tap? Retrieved from http://webprojects.oit.ncsu.edu/project/bio183de/Black/chemreview/chemreview_news/402_h2o.html

Background: This article was written by Anne Christiansen Bullers and published on the FDA consumers magazine website. It provides reasons why bottled water is safer for consumption compared to tap water.

How I Used It: I was able to use this information in my rebuttal argument to provide an opposing viewpoint to my thesis that tap water is safer for consumption compared to bottled water. This source provided me with information to cite and then disprove in favor of my thesis.

[What was that infomation? —DSH]

10. Flint Water Crisis Fast Facts. (2018, April 09). Retrieved from https://www.cnn.com/2016/03/04/us/flint-water-crisis-fast-facts/index.html

Background: This website provided facts about the Flint Michigan Water Crisis and supplied a timeline of events prior to the news coverage of the crisis and after the story hit the news.

How I Used It: I was able to use this information in my causal argument when discussing publicized issues with tap water in contrast to the lack of information available about bottled water.

[You mean: I used the fact that bad news about Flint’s water became public knowledge while WE STILL DON’T KNOW the bad news about bottled water. —DSH]

Reflective– BeezKneez

Core Value 1. My work demonstrates that I used a variety of social and interactive practices that involve recursive stages of exploration, discovery, conceptualization, and development.

This was demonstrated throughout the entire semester of College Composition 2. Every assignment that was handed in had to be revised. Feedback was always given by my professor to ensure improvement. I had to write a 3,000 word research paper that was revised multiple times.

Core Value 2. My work demonstrates that I read critically, and that I placed texts into conversation with one another to create meaning by synthesizing ideas from various discourse communities. 

I demonstrated this by the creation of the 3,000 word research paper. To accomplish the task, I had to read and analyze at least ten scholarly sources and then incorporate quotes from said sources into my paper. Reading these sources also gave me background knowledge on my topic so I was able to put together a coherent argument.

Core Value 3. My work demonstrates that I rhetorically analyzed the purpose, audience, and contexts of my own writing and other texts and visual arguments.

I met this goal by understanding who my audience was before writing any of my assignments. This goal was also accomplished by completing the visual rhetoric assignment. For this assignment, we had to watch a public service announcement commercial without the sound. Our task was to describe everything we saw second by second without listening to the audio and infer what was going on and why the creator of the advertisement chose those visuals for their commercial.

Core Value 4: My work demonstrates that I have met the expectations of academic writing by locating, evaluating, and incorporating illustrations and evidence to support my own ideas and interpretations.

I met this goal by writing the 3,000 word research paper. I had to find sources and evaluate whether they were authentic or not. I then had to use quotes from those sources to support my own claims throughout the paper.

Core Value 5. My work demonstrates that I respect my ethical responsibility to represent complex ideas fairly and to the sources of my information with appropriate citation. 

This goal was achieved in every writing assignment throughout the semester. It is important to understand that people trust things that are written and that we can not take advantage of them. It is also important to not take advantage of any sources used by taking the author out of context and twisting their meaning.

Rebuttal Rewrite– BeezKneez

According to Anne Christiansen Bullers, the author of “Bottled Water: Better Than the Tap?” which was published in the Food and Drug Administration Consumer magazine, bottled water is safer for drinking compared to tap water. However, I’m here today to discuss the holes in her argument and prove that tap water is actually safer to drink compared to bottled water.

The Environmental Protection Agency sets safe drinking water standards for both tap and bottled water. However, the Food and Drug Administration is in charge of bottled water and has the option to adopt these standards for safe levels of contaminates or ignore them. Bullers claims that, “Each time the EPA establishes a standard for a chemical or microbial contaminant, the FDA either adopts it for bottled water or makes a finding that the standard is not necessary for bottled water in order to protect the public health.” What the author fails to mention, is how the Food and Drug Administration determines the necessity of the said standard in question. If the standard is put in place for all drinking water by the Environmental Protection Agency, what makes the difference for the standard to be neglected just because the water is going into a bottle? I would think that all standards would apply to the safety of the general public regardless of how the water is going to be distributed.

Bullers also points out that, “When lead levels are above 15 parts per billion in tap water that reaches home faucets, water utilities must treat the water to reduce the lead levels to below 15 parts per billion. In bottled water, where lead pipes are not used, the lead limit is set at 5 parts per billion.” Although this statement is true, Buller neglects to mention a toxic chemical known as DEHP that is used in the production of plastic bottles. DEHP is the most common member of the class of phthalates. John Stephenson, the Director of Natural Resources and Environment for the United States Government Accountability Office, claims, “Phthalates are a class of chemical compounds primarily used as a plasticizer added to plastics to increase flexibility, transparency, durability, and longevity and found in a variety of food containers and packaging.” The fact of the matter is that even though higher concentrations of lead are allowed in tap water, our tap water is not sitting in our homes pipes for anywhere near the amount of time water is sitting in a plastic bottle. The toxic compound, DEHP, can seep into the water contained in plastic bottles over time and cause negative effects on children. Andrew Postman, a member of the Natural Resources Defense Council and the author of “The Truth About Tap,” claims that, “Chemicals called phthalates, which are known to disrupt testosterone and other hormones, can leach into bottled water over time.” Another researcher, Lina Huerta-Saenz, the author of “Tap or Bottled Water: Drinking Preferences Among Urban Minority Children and Adolescents,” informs us that, “Data suggests an endocrine and developmental toxic effect from DEHP on growing children.” Also, a concerning thing to hear is the fact that there are no legal limits on the amount of DEHP bottled water companies are allowed to use. According to Postman, “Although there are regulatory standards limiting phthalates in tap, there are no legal limits in bottled water; the bottled water industry waged a successful campaign opposing the FDA proposal to set a legal limit for these chemicals.”

Another point Bullers makes is that, “Water must be sampled, analyzed, and found to be safe and sanitary.” The issue with this is that the FDA does not have the authority over bottled water companies to require them to use certified laboratories to test the water going into their bottles. Considering this, the information about the safety of the bottled water can not be trusted. According to Stephenson, “The FDA does not have the specific statutory authority to require bottlers to use certified laboratories for water quality tests or to report test results, even if violations of the standards are found.”

Bullers mentions tap water and states that, “In fact, the most dangerous contaminants are those that consumers can not see or taste, but consumers don’t need to worry about their presence. Municipal water systems serving 25 people or more are subject to the Federal Safe Drinking Water Act. As such, the water is constantly and thoroughly tested for harmful substances. If there is a problem, consumers will be warned throughout he media or other outlets.” This statement is actually in my favor since I have evidence that proves bottled water companies are not required to report issues with their water to the Food and Drug Administration. Stephenson lets us know that, “Rather, the FFDCA requires FDA to regulate bottled water as a “food.” As such, it does not specifically authorize FDA to require that bottled water be tested by certified laboratories or that violations of the standard of quality be reported to FDA.” The acronym FFDCA stands for the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act which was created by the Food and Drug Administration to make manufacturers responsible for producing safe, wholesome, and truthfully labeled food products. The FFDCA is a scapegoat created by the Food and Drug Administration to take any responsibility for the safety of the bottled water away from them and transfer it to the bottled water manufacturer.

My research really raised some question in my mind as to what really has been going on in the realm of bottled water. We have a federal agency (FDA) that created an act that doesn’t require bottled water companies to use certified testing labs, we have DEHP in the plastic bottles, and that same federal agency that doesn’t have to adopt the standards sent forth by the Environmental Protection Agency.  It seems to me that my tap water is so much more closely monitored since according to Postman, “Bottled water plants must test for coliform bacteria just once a week; city tap needs to be tested 100 or more times a month.” So our tap water is actually tested much more often than water that goes into a plastic bottle.

 

References

Bullers, A. C. (n.d.). Bottled Water: Better Than the Tap? Retrieved from   http://webprojects.oit.ncsu.edu/project/bio183de/Black/chemreview/chemreview_news/402_h2o.html

Huerta-Saenz, L., Irigoyen, M., Benavides, J., & Mendoza, M. (2011, June 04). Tap or Bottled Water: Drinking Preferences Among Urban Minority Children and Adolescents. Retrieved from https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10900-011-9415-1

Office, U. G., & Stephenson, J. (2009, July 07). Bottled Water: FDA Safety and Consumer Protections Are Often Less Stringent Than Comparable EPA Protections for Tap Water. Retrieved from https://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-09-610

Postman, A. (2016, January 5). The Truth About Tap. Retrieved from https://www.nrdc.org/stories/truth-about-tap

Definition Rewrite– BeezKneez

Water on Tap

It seems that every person you look at in today’s world has a bottle of water with them. Besides the convenience of it, many people drink bottled water because they believe it is safer than their tap water. This misconception is caused by bottled water companies advertising their water as “clean and pure.” Which in return sends the message that the water coming out of our tap is not “clean” or “pure” enough for us to drink. Unfortunately, many consumers are not educated about the loose regulations surrounding the water going into the bottles. For the majority of the United States population, our home’s tap water is actually safer for consumption compared to bottled water.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sets safe drinking water standards for both tap and bottled water. However, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is in charge of bottled water and has the option to adopt these standards for safe levels of contaminates or ignore them. According to Sara Goodman, the New York Times author of “Fewer Regulations for Bottled Water Than Tap, GAO Says,” “The Safe Drinking Water Act empowers EPA to require water testing by certified laboratories and that violations be reported within a specified time frame.” Municipal water systems (tap water) must also provide annual reports to the consumers including the source of the water and evidence of any contaminates. Bottled water does not provide any information involving contaminates or the source of the water on the labeling of the bottle. The most that can be found on the labeling is a customer service phone number for the brand and the location of where the water was bottled and packaged. John Stephenson, the Director of Natural Resources and Environment for the United States Government Accountability Office, claims, “The FDA does not have the specific statutory authority to require bottlers to use certified laboratories for water quality tests or to report test results, even if violations of the standards are found.” With that being said, bottled water can not be trusted even though the Food and Drug Administration has set standards for the bottled water because those standards are worthless if the bottled water brand is using an uncertified laboratory to test the quality of the water. 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.

Another reason why tap water is safer to drink compared to bottled water is the fact that tap water does not contain a harmful chemical known as DEHP. DEHP is the most common member of the class of phthalates. According to Stephenson, “Phthalates are a class of chemical compounds primarily used as a plasticizer added to plastics to increase flexibility, transparency, durability, and longevity and found in a variety of food containers and packaging.” This chemical compound can seep into the water inside plastic bottles over time and cause negative effects on children. Lina Huerta-Saenz, the author of “Tap or Bottled Water: Drinking Preferences Among Urban Minority Children and Adolescents,” claims that, “Data suggests an endocrine and developmental toxic effect from DEHP on growing children.” Also, there are no laws restricting the use of this toxic chemical in bottled water. Andrew Postman, a member of the Natural Resources Defense Council and the author of “The Truth About Tap,” informs us that, “Although there are regulatory standards limiting phthalates in tap, there are no legal limits in bottled water; the bottled water industry waged a successful campaign opposing the FDA proposal to set a legal limit for these chemicals.” A highly possible reason why there are no laws limiting the use of this chemical in bottled water is the fact that bottled water is classified as a “food.” According to Stephenson, “Rather, the FFDCA requires the FDA to regulate bottled water as a food.” If laws were put in place to limit DEHP in plastic bottles, it would effect basically every kind of packaged food to some degree. 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. So instead of food companies spending a little extra money, the American children will have to pay by having potential endocrine and developmental issues which will effect them for the rest of their lives.

An additional plus for tap water is that most communities add fluoride to their water to help prevent tooth decay. Huerta-Saenz states that, “Fluoridation of community water has proven highly effective in reducing tooth decay by providing both a topical and systemic source of fluoride.” Bottled water companies are not required to list the natural fluoride content of their water, but are required to list fluoride additives. According to Huerta-Saenz, “It is estimated that less than one percent of brands of bottled water have added fluoride to their product.” Keeping all this in-mind, it is very easy to come to the conclusion that increased consumption of bottled water can have the potential to lead to higher rates of tooth decay in children.

For the people with private wells, such as myself, the safety of our tap water is in our own hands. The Environmental Protection Agency recommends our water be tested annually to ensure it is safe to drink. Specifically, testing for nitrates and coliform bacteria, checking with the local health department for information on possible ground contaminates in the area, and purchasing an applicable home water treatment system based on these results is the best way to ensure safe drinking water from a private well.

To really seal the deal that tap water is safer to drink, here a few more “fun facts” about tap water versus bottled water. It is important to keep in mind that the federal government does not require bottled water to be safer than tap water. According to Postman, “Tap water in most big cities must be disinfected, filtered to remove pathogens, and tested for cryptosporidium and giardiasis viruses. Bottled water does not have to be.” Postman lets us in on another a little secret that, “Bottled water plants must test for coliform bacteria just once a week; city tap needs to be tested 100 or more times a month.” I guess that bottled water isn’t so “clean and pure” after all.

 

References

Goodman, S. (2009, July 09). Fewer Regulations for Bottled Water Than Tap, GAO Says. Retrieved from  https://archive.nytimes.com/www.nytimes.com/gwire/2009/07/09/09greenwire-fewer-regulations-for-bottled-water-than-tap-g-33331.html

Huerta-Saenz, L., Irigoyen, M., Benavides, J., & Mendoza, M. (2011, June 04). Tap or Bottled Water: Drinking Preferences Among Urban Minority Children and Adolescents. Retrieved from https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10900-011-9415-1

Office, U. G., & Stephenson, J. (2009, July 07). Bottled Water: FDA Safety and Consumer Protections Are Often Less Stringent Than Comparable EPA Protections for Tap Water. Retrieved from https://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-09-610

Postman, A. (2016, January 5). The Truth About Tap. Retrieved from https://www.nrdc.org/stories/truth-about-tap

Research– BeezKneez

Water on Tap

It seems that every person you look at in today’s world has a bottle of water with them. Besides the convenience of it, many people drink bottled water because they believe it is safer than their tap water. This misconception is caused by bottled water companies advertising their water as “clean and pure.” Which in return sends the message that the water coming out of our tap is not “clean” or “pure” enough for us to drink. Unfortunately, many consumers are not educated about the loose regulations surrounding the water going into the bottles. For the majority of the United States population, our home’s tap water is actually safer for consumption compared to bottled water.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sets safe drinking water standards for both tap and bottled water. However, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is in charge of bottled water and has the option to adopt these standards for safe levels of contaminates or ignore them. According to Sara Goodman, the New York Times author of “Fewer Regulations for Bottled Water Than Tap, GAO Says,” “The Safe Drinking Water Act empowers EPA to require water testing by certified laboratories and that violations be reported within a specified time frame.” Municipal water systems (tap water) must also provide annual reports to the consumers including the source of the water and evidence of any contaminates. Bottled water does not provide any information involving contaminates or the source of the water on the labeling of the bottle. The most that can be found on the labeling is a customer service phone number for the brand and the location of where the water was bottled and packaged. John Stephenson, the Director of Natural Resources and Environment for the United States Government Accountability Office, claims, “The FDA does not have the specific statutory authority to require bottlers to use certified laboratories for water quality tests or to report test results, even if violations of the standards are found.” With that being said, bottled water can not be trusted even though the Food and Drug Administration has set standards for the bottled water because those standards are worthless if the bottled water brand is using an uncertified laboratory to test the quality of the water. 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.

Another reason why tap water is safer to drink compared to bottled water is the fact that tap water does not contain a harmful chemical known as DEHP. DEHP is the most common member of the class of phthalates. According to Stephenson, “Phthalates are a class of chemical compounds primarily used as a plasticizer added to plastics to increase flexibility, transparency, durability, and longevity and found in a variety of food containers and packaging.” This chemical compound can seep into the water inside plastic bottles over time and cause negative effects on children. Lina Huerta-Saenz, the author of “Tap or Bottled Water: Drinking Preferences Among Urban Minority Children and Adolescents,” claims that, “Data suggests an endocrine and developmental toxic effect from DEHP on growing children.” Also, there are no laws restricting the use of this toxic chemical in bottled water. Andrew Postman, a member of the Natural Resources Defense Council and the author of “The Truth About Tap,” informs us that, “Although there are regulatory standards limiting phthalates in tap, there are no legal limits in bottled water; the bottled water industry waged a successful campaign opposing the FDA proposal to set a legal limit for these chemicals.” A highly possible reason why there are no laws limiting the use of this chemical in bottled water is the fact that bottled water is classified as a “food.” According to Stephenson, “Rather, the FFDCA requires the FDA to regulate bottled water as a food.” If laws were put in place to limit DEHP in plastic bottles, it would effect basically every kind of packaged food to some degree. 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. So instead of food companies spending a little extra money, the American children will have to pay by having potential endocrine and developmental issues which will effect them for the rest of their lives.

An additional plus for tap water is that most communities add fluoride to their water to help prevent tooth decay. Huerta-Saenzstates that, “Fluoridation of community water has proven highly effective in reducing tooth decay by providing both a topical and systemic source of fluoride.” Bottled water companies are not required to list the natural fluoride content of their water, but are required to list fluoride additives. According to Huerta-Saenz, “It is estimated that less than one percent of brands of bottled water have added fluoride to their product.” Keeping all this in-mind, it is very easy to come to the conclusion that increased consumption of bottled water can have the potential to lead to higher rates of tooth decay in children.

For the people with private wells, such as myself, the safety of our tap water is in our own hands. The Environmental Protection Agency recommends our water be tested annually to ensure it is safe to drink. Specifically, testing for nitrates and coliform bacteria, checking with the local health department for information on possible ground contaminates in the area, and purchasing an applicable home water treatment system based on these results is the best way to ensure safe drinking water from a private well.

To really seal the deal that tap water is safer to drink, here a few more “fun facts” about tap water versus bottled water. It is important to keep in mind that the federal government does not require bottled water to be safer than tap water. According to Postman, “Tap water in most big cities must be disinfected, filtered to remove pathogens, and tested for cryptosporidium and giardiasis viruses. Bottled water does not have to be.” Postman lets us in on another a little secret that, “Bottled water plants must test for coliform bacteria just once a week; city tap needs to be tested 100 or more times a month.” I guess that bottled water isn’t so “clean and pure” after all.

The consumption of bottled water has greatly increased in the last twenty years. This is due to the highly successful marketing campaigns for bottled water that portray their water as “pure and natural.” Which in return makes consumers believe that their home’s tap water is unhealthy for them to drink. However, this is a widely believed misconception about tap water. In actuality, tap water is healthier for drinking than bottled water.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulates standards for municipal tap water while the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates bottled water. The EPA creates standards for the maximum amount of contaminates allowed in our drinking water. The FDA can choose to adopt or neglect these standards when it comes to bottled water. According to Andrew Postman, a member of the Natural Resources Defense Council, “Bottled water plants must test for coliform bacteria just once a week; city taps need to be tested 100 or more times a month.” John Stephenson, the Director of Natural Resources and Environment for the United States Government Accountability Office, claims, “The FDA does not have the specific statutory authority to require bottlers to use certified laboratories for water quality tests or to report test results, even if violations of the standards are found.” This means that the level of contaminates in bottled water cannot be trusted. When municipal water is tested for contamination the information is collected and sent out to the municipality’s residents once a year in an annual water report. This report, also known as a Consumer Confidence Report, is required by the EPA and contains information on contaminants found, possible health effects, and the water’s source. The FDA does not require bottled water companies to divulge this information to consumers. A reason for this is because the FDA does not have the authority over bottled water companies to require them to do so.

I’ve also found that fluoride is commonly added to tap water but it is removed from bottled water during the purification process. Lina Huerta-Saenz writes in her article, “Tap or Bottled Water: Drinking Preferences Along Urban Minority Children and Adolescents,” that the FDA does not require water bottles to list natural fluoride content but does require listing of any added fluoride. Bottled water is known to be low in fluoride since it’s purified, deionized, demineralized, distilled or prepared by reverse osmosis. Bottled water companies are not adding fluoride to their product. In addition, the perceptions of the qualities of water seem to be driving the drinking preferences. As Huerta-Saenz states, only 24% were even aware of the effects of the lack of fluoride in water. Communities with fluoridated water, prefer consumption of bottled water over tap water and that may have a detrimental effect on children’s oral health. In contrast, to community tap water, most bottled waters contain fluoride at levels that are less than optimal for the prevention of tooth decay. Therefore, there has been a correlation between the increased consumption of bottled water and the increased rates of tooth decay in children. 

I’ve also found sources that claim a chemical called DEHP is used in the manufacturing of plastic bottles for bottled water. This chemical is found to cause developmental and growth problems for children along with other negative effects. Andrew Postmansays, “Chemicals called phthalates, which are known to disrupt testosterone and other hormones, can leach into bottled water over time.” He goes on to explain that although there are regulatory standards limiting phthalates in tap, there are no legal limits in bottled water. Sara Goodman writes in, Fewer Regulations for Bottled Water Than Tap, GAO Says, “More than a decade ago, EPA issued a standard for DEHP in public drinking water. The FDA deferred proposing an allowable level for bottled water because the chemical is allowed in some food packaging.” 

There is also the factor to consider that information is more readily available about municipal/ tap water and there is a lack of information about bottled water. A reason for the lack of information about bottled water is because the FDA does not require bottled water companies to disclose information about the contents of their water. According to Huerta-Saenz, “Information about chemical and microbiological quality of tap water is far more easily available for tap water than for bottled water.” The wealth of information available regarding community tap water violations may have enhanced mistrust in the national water systems. With that being said, lack of data for bottled water plus the marketed image of purity may have led to the perception of safety. 

A contributing factor to the question of tap water safety occurred during the highly publicized municipal water issue that is known as, the Flint Michigan Water Crisis of 2015. This incident caused people across the entire country to become skeptical about the water coming out of their tap. As CNN reported, the Flint Water Crisis was caused by city officials deciding to construct a new pipeline designed to deliver water from Lake Huron to Flint in an attempt to cut annual water costs. During the construction of this pipeline, it was decided to use the Flint River as a water source until the project was completed. Four months after the switch, fecal coliform bacteria was detected in the water so Flint decided to pump high levels of chlorine into the water system. Ten months after the initial switch to Flint River water, the Environmental Protection Agency detected dangerous levels of lead in the water measured at 104 parts per billion which exceeds the 15 parts per billion limit set by the EPA for all drinking water.

It is important to have a true understanding of how drinking water is mandated and controlled. Becoming aware of the process can only help the public and local communities. Even though there may be isolated instances of water contamination, in most cases, tap water has proven to be the healthier option. It is tested on a more regular basis and still contains a lot of the minerals that our body needs. Bottled water may seem convenient, but think twice next time you put that plastic to your lips.

According to Anne Christiansen Bullers, the author of “BottledWater: Better Than the Tap?” which was published in the Food and Drug Administration Consumer magazine, bottled water is safer for drinking compared to tap water. However, I’m here today to discuss the holes in her argument and prove that tap water is actually safer to drink compared to bottled water.

The Environmental Protection Agency sets safe drinking water standards for both tap and bottled water. However, the Food and Drug Administration is in charge of bottled water and has the option to adopt these standards for safe levels of contaminates or ignore them. Bullers claims that, “Each time the EPA establishes a standard for a chemical or microbial contaminant, the FDA either adopts it for bottled water or makes a finding that the standard is not necessary for bottled water in order to protect the public health.” What the author fails to mention, is how the Food and Drug Administration determines the necessity of the said standard in question. If the standard is put in place for all drinking water by the Environmental Protection Agency, what makes the difference for the standard to be neglected just because the water is going into a bottle? I would think that all standards would apply to the safety of the general public regardless of how the water is going to be distributed.

Bullers also points out that, “When lead levels are above 15 parts per billion in tap water that reaches home faucets, water utilities must treat the water to reduce the lead levels to below 15 parts per billion. In bottled water, where lead pipes are not used, the lead limit is set at 5 parts per billion.” Although this statement is true, Buller neglects to mention a toxic chemical known as DEHP that is used in the production of plastic bottles. DEHP is the most common member of the class of phthalates. John Stephenson, the Director of Natural Resources and Environment for the United States Government Accountability Office, claims, “Phthalates are a class of chemical compounds primarily used as a plasticizer added to plastics to increase flexibility, transparency, durability, and longevity and found in a variety of food containers and packaging.” The fact of the matter is that even though higher concentrations of lead are allowed in tap water, our tap water is not sitting in our homes pipes for anywhere near the amount of time water is sitting in a plastic bottle. The toxic compound, DEHP, can seep into the water contained in plastic bottles over time and cause negative effects on children. Andrew Postman, a member of the Natural Resources Defense Council and the author of “The Truth About Tap,” claims that, “Chemicals called phthalates, which are known to disrupt testosterone and other hormones, can leach into bottled water over time.” Another researcher, Lina Huerta-Saenz, the author of “Tap or Bottled Water: Drinking Preferences Among Urban Minority Children and Adolescents,” informs us that, “Data suggests an endocrine and developmental toxic effect from DEHP on growing children.” Also, a concerning thing to hear is the fact that there are no legal limits on the amount of DEHP bottled water companies are allowed to use. According to Postman, “Although there are regulatory standards limiting phthalates in tap, there are no legal limits in bottled water; the bottled water industry waged a successful campaign opposing the FDA proposal to set a legal limit for these chemicals.”

Another point Bullers makes is that, “Water must be sampled, analyzed, and found to be safe and sanitary.” The issue with this is that the FDA does not have the authority over bottled water companies to require them to use certified laboratories to test the water going into their bottles. Considering this, the information about the safety of the bottled water can not be trusted. According to Stephenson, “The FDA does not have the specific statutory authority to require bottlers to use certified laboratories for water quality tests or to report test results, even if violations of the standards are found.”

Bullers mentions tap water and states that, “In fact, the most dangerous contaminants are those that consumers can not see or taste, but consumers don’t need to worry about their presence. Municipal water systems serving 25 people or more are subject to the Federal Safe Drinking Water Act. As such, the water is constantly and thoroughly tested for harmful substances. If there is a problem, consumers will be warned throughout he media or other outlets.” This statement is actually in my favor since I have evidence that proves bottled water companies are not required to report issues with their water to the Food and Drug Administration. Stephenson lets us know that, “Rather, the FFDCA requires FDA to regulate bottled water as a “food.” As such, it does not specifically authorize FDA to require that bottled water be tested by certified laboratories or that violations of the standard of quality be reported to FDA.” The acronym FFDCA stands for the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act which was created by the Food and Drug Administration to make manufacturers responsible for producing safe, wholesome, and truthfully labeled food products. The FFDCA is a scapegoat created by the Food and Drug Administration to take any responsibility for the safety of the bottled water away from them and transfer it to the bottled water manufacturer.

My research really raised some question in my mind as to what really has been going on in the realm of bottled water. We have a federal agency (FDA) that created an act that doesn’t require bottled water companies to use certified testing labs, we have DEHP in the plastic bottles, and that same federal agency that doesn’t have to adopt the standards sent forth by the Environmental Protection Agency.  It seems to me that my tap water is so much more closely monitored since according to Postman, “Bottled water plants must test for coliform bacteria just once a week; city tap needs to be tested 100 or more times a month.” So our tap water is actually tested much more often than water that goes into a plastic bottle.

 

References

Bullers, A. C. (n.d.). Bottled Water: Better Than the Tap? Retrieved from   http://webprojects.oit.ncsu.edu/project/bio183de/Black/chemreview/chemreview_news/402_h2o.html

Flint Water Crisis Fast Facts. (2018, April 09). Retrieved from https://www.cnn.com/2016/03/04/us/flint-water-crisis-fast-facts/index.html

Goodman, S. (2009, July 09). Fewer Regulations for Bottled Water Than Tap, GAO                                       Says. Retrieved from  https://archive.nytimes.com/www.nytimes.com/gwire/2009/07/09/09greenwire-fewer-regulations-for-bottled-water-than-tap-g-33331.html

Huerta-Saenz, L., Irigoyen, M., Benavides, J., & Mendoza, M. (2011, June 04). Tap or Bottled Water: Drinking Preferences Among Urban Minority Children and Adolescents. Retrieved from https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10900-011-9415-1

Office, U. G., & Stephenson, J. (2009, July 07). Bottled Water: FDA Safety and Consumer Protections Are Often Less Stringent Than Comparable EPA Protections for Tap Water. Retrieved from https://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-09-610

Postman, A. (2016, January 5). The Truth About Tap. Retrieved from https://www.nrdc.org/stories/truth-about-tap

Rebuttal–BeezKneez

There is no way that tap water is better than bottled water. Lead can leech into the water through the pipes of the municipal water system and through the pipes of your home. Bottled water has to have a lot less lead than tap water. In actuality, the maximum standard for lead is less than the maximum standard in bottled water. Most homes in todays world are not built with copper pipes anymore and the water would have to sit in the pipes for a long time for any amount of lead to leech into the water. Most normal people use their tap water regularly throughout the day; so as long as you’re using your tap water for something daily, there should be no concerns about lead. However, a concern a consumer should have is the dangerous chemical used to make the plastic bottle their water is going into called DEHP. Water is definitely sitting in those bottles long enough for DEHP or some other type of chemical from the plastic to leech into the water. In 1986, amendments were made to the Safe Water Drinking Act of 1974 that required the EPA to set new standards limiting the concentration of lead in public water systems.

 

(I think I need to try to incorporate specific numbers and lengths of time. Is this along the lines of what I’m supposed to be writing though??)