If we pour bottled water into one glass and tap water in the other, the two glasses are regulated by different agencies, despite the fact that 40% of the time, bottled water is just filtered tap water (Tapped). Tap water is regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which, under federal law, is required to test all tap water that comes through our faucets. Bottled water, on the other hand, is regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as it is considered a packaged food product. Moreover, the FDA only regulates bottled water that crosses state lines, which accounts for only 30-40% of all bottled water (Tapped). The different testing standards that exist between these two agencies are alarming. What must be measured, who does the measuring, how often the water is tested, along with the rules for notifying the public differ among the EPA and FDA. .
What is Measured.
The EPA employs much stricter measuring policies on municipal water than the FDA does on bottled water companies (Julia Layton). Municipal water must test for and meet standards for levels of E.coli, fecal coliform bacteria, cryptosporidium viruses, asbestos, and phthalate to ensure safe drinking water for the public (NRDC). The FDA does not require bottled water companies to test for any of these contaminants (NRDC). .
Results of this under-regulation of bottled water companies have been hundreds of recalls of bottled water with contaminants such as mold, kerosene, algae, yeast, fecal coliforms, glass particles, and crickets. All were recalled after hundreds of thousands of people had been drinking the contaminated water. However, Craig Stevens, vice president of communications for the American Beverage Association who also represents Nestle, Aquafina, Dasani, and Fiji claims that he has never heard of a recall on bottled water. A simple Google search proves him wrong.
How Often the Water is Tested?.