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California beefs up bottled water labeling

Is Your Bottled Water Worth It?: California beefs up bottled water labeling

June 10, 2009

A California law passed in 2007 (SB 220) requires bottled water companies to label the name and location of their water source, and to provide consumers with water quality testing reports upon request, effective January 1 2009. EWG assessed the extent to which this law affected labeling practices nationwide.

We compared 2008 and 2009 labels from 54 bottled water products, and found that more than half of these products are providing more information, with many now complying with the new California requirements:

This new law is one of many changes in recent years improving consumers' access to information on bottled water sources, treatment and quality. Pressure from Corporate Accountability International's 4-year "Think Outside the Bottle" campaign led Pepsi and Nestle to label the sources of their Aquafina and Pure Life brands, and spurred passage of a resolution to stop city spending on bottled water, adopted by a coalition of 1,100 mayors, among many other accomplishments.


Table 1: 28 bottled water brands gave customers more information in 2008 than in 2009

Product20082009Labels sent from?
Sparkletts Crystal-Fresh Purified Water Label did not guide consumers to water quality informationLabel provides consumers with a phone number and website to get information on water quality CA
Poland Spring Natural Spring Water Vague source information on website: Ancient aquifers in Maine Detailed source information on website: "Spring water sources: Poland Spring, Poland Spring, ME; Clear Spring, Hollis, ME; Evergreen Spring, Fryeburg, ME; Spruce Spring, Pierce Pond Township, ME; Garden Spring, Poland, ME; Bradbury Spring, Kingfield, ME and/or White Cedar Spring, Dallas Plt, ME"NY; MA; NJ; VA; ME
365 Everyday Value Spring Water Label did not guide consumers to water quality informationLabel provides consumers with a phone number and email address to get information on water qualityAZ (2009 label from NC showed no change from 2008)
Ozarka Natural Spring Water Vague source information on website: Various east-Texas springs located in Henderson, Walker and Wood counties Detailed source information on website: "Various east-Texas springs located in Henderson, Walker and Wood counties: Roher Spring, Henderson County, TX; Moffit Spring, Walker County, TX; Piney Woods Springs, Wood County, TX; Clear Springs, Wood County, TX"TX; MS; KS; OK
Nestle Pure Life Purified Water No source information provided on labelSource information provided on label: "Deep protected well, [Breinigsville, PA and/or Public Water Supply, Allentown, PA] [Ontario, CA] [Hollis, Maine]"CT; MD; CA (2009 label from TX showed no change from 2008)
Nestle Pure Life Purified Water Label did not guide consumers to water quality informationLabel provides consumers with a phone number and website to get information on water qualityCT; MD; CA (2009 label from TX showed no change from 2008)
Spring! Natural Spring Water No information on water purification process available on websiteWater purification process detailed on website: "Microfiltration, Ozonation, Ultra Violet Light (UV) disinfection" OH; UT
Arrowhead Mountain Spring Water No source information given on label and only vague source information available on website: "The sources range from the natural springs in US to Canada including sources in a watershed outside of San Francisco"Both label and website name the water sources. Label: "Arcadia Spring, Calistoga, CA; Lukens Spring, Baxter, CA; Sopiago Spring, El Dorado County, CA; Sugar Pine Spring, Long Barn, CA; White Meadows Spring, Pacific House, CA; Rainbow Lodge/Royal Gorge, Soda Springs, CA; Hope Springs, BC, Canada; SP Spring, Riverside County, CA; Arrowhead Springs, San Bernardino County, CA; Long Point Ranch, Running Spring, CA; Palomar Mountain Granite Springs (PMGS), Palomar, CA; Deer Canyon Springs, San Bernardino County, CA; Coyote Springs, Inyo County, CA". Website: "Arcadia Spring, Calistoga, CA; Lukens Spring, Baxter, CA; Sopiago Spring, El Dorado County, CA; Sugar Pine Spring, Long Barn, CA; White Meadows Spring, Pacific House, CA; Rainbow Lodge/Royal Gorge, Soda Springs, CA; Hope Springs, BC, Canada; SP Spring, Riverside County, CA; Arrowhead Springs, San Bernardino County, CA; Long Point Ranch, Running Spring, CA; Palomar Mountain Granite Springs (PMGS), Palomar, CA; Deer Canyon Springs, San Bernardino County, CA; Coyote Springs, Inyo County, CA"AZ; CA
Arrowhead Mountain Spring Water Label did not guide consumers to water quality informationLabel provides consumers with a phone number and website to get information on water qualityAZ; CA
Kirkland Signature Premium Drinking Water Label did not guide consumers to water quality informationLabel provides consumers with a phone number and website to get information on water qualityCA; CO
Deer Park Natural Spring Water Vague source information available on website: Original source in Appalachian Mountains outside of Deer Park, Maryland plus additional undisclosed locationsDetailed source information provided on website: "Frontier located in New Tripoli, PA, Bangor, PA, Stroudsburg, PA, Hegins, PA, South Coventry, PA, Pine Grove, PA Newmanstown, PA and/or Oakland, MD; Spring of Life, Lake County, FL and/or Crystal Springs, Pasco County, FL; White Springs, Liberty County, FL and/or Blue Springs, Madison County, FL; Glenwood Spring, St Albans, ME; Sweetwater Falls, Hohenwald, TN"DC; VA; OH; GA
Dasani Purified Water Label did not guide consumers to water quality informationLabel provides consumers with a phone number and website to get information on water qualityCA; MI; OR (2009 labels from DC, CA, VA, OH and GA showed no change from 2008)
Fiji Natural Artesian WaterWebsite did not provide details on purificationWebsite provided details on purification techniques used to treat the water: "the water is filtered, microfiltered and ultra violet light is applied" WI; VA; TX
Fiji Natural Artesian Water Label did not guide consumers to water quality informationLabel provides consumers with a phone number and website to get information on water qualityWI; VA; TX
Glaceau Smart Water No information on water source available on websiteVague information on water source available on website: "Most facilities that purify and bottle smartwater procure water from municipal water systems. At a few plants, however, water is obtained from protected groundwater sources managed by the bottling plant, with approvals from local authorities. "CA
Kirkland Signature Mountain Spring Water No purification information available on product websitePurification information provided on product website: "Advanced filtration, Ozonation and Reverse Osmosis Technologies"NM
Zephyrhills Natural Spring Water Vague source information available on website: Springs in Florida plus additional spring sourcesDetailed source information available on website: "Crystal Springs, Pasco County, FL; Cypress Springs, Washington County, FL and/or Blue Springs, Madison County, FL"FL
Market Pantry Purified Water Label did not guide consumers to water quality informationLabel provides consumers with a phone number and website to get information on water qualityAR
Ice Mountain Natural Spring Water Vague source information on website: Several "unique springs" in the Northern United StatesDetailed water sources given on website: "Sanctuary and Evart Springs, Stanwood, MI; Frontier Springs located in New Tripoli, PA, Bangor, PA, Hegins, PA, South Coventry, PA, Pine Grove, PA, Stroudsburg, PA and /or Oakland, MD; Glenwood Spring, St Albans, ME; Sweetwater Falls, Hohenwald, TN; Bennett Hill Spring, Red Boiling Springs, TN"MO; IL
Crystal Geyser Natural Alpine Spring Water Label did not guide consumers to water quality informationLabel provides consumers with a phone number and email address to get information on water qualityWA
Crystal Springs Natural Mountain Spring Water Vague source information available on product label: Springs, Blue Ridge, GADetailed water source given on the product label: "Tablerock Spring, Morganton, NC 28655"NC
Sam's Choice Purified Drinking Water with Flavor Enhancing Minerals No water quality report available on websiteWater quality report available on website with information on source, treatment and water testing resultsNC; OK
Sam's Choice Purified Drinking Water with Flavor Enhancing MineralsLabel did not guide consumers to water quality informationLabel provides consumers with a phone number and website to get information on water qualityNC; OK (2009 label from VA showed no change since 2008)
Stater Bros. Pure Water Purified Drinking Water No information available on product label about water sourceVague water source information available on product label: "deep protected wells in southern California"CA
Stater Bros. Pure Water Purified Drinking Water Label did not guide consumers to water quality informationLabel provides consumers with a phone number to get information on water qualityCA
Evian Natural Spring Water Label did not guide consumers to water quality informationLabel provides consumers with a phone number and website to get information on water qualityCA (2009 labels from IL and OR did not change since 2008)
Refreshe Purified Drinking Water No website available to inform consumers about productWebsite available with information on the purification process and water testing CA
Refreshe Purified Drinking Water Label did not guide consumers to water quality informationLabel provides consumers with a phone number and website to get information on water qualityCA (2009 labels from DC, OR and VA unchanged since 2008)
Volvic Natural Spring Water Label did not guide consumers to water quality informationLabel provides consumers with a phone number and website to get information on water qualityFL
Camelot Purified Water No source information given on product labelSource information given on product label: "Lafayette Spring, Lafayette TWP, WI"WI
Camelot Purified WaterNo purification information given on product labelPurification information given on product label: "purified by reverse osmosis" WI
Trader Joe's Pure New Zealand Artesian Water Label did not guide consumers to water quality informationLabel provides consumers with a phone number and email address to get information on water qualityCA
Hinckley Springs Spring Water Label did not guide consumers to water quality informationLabel provides consumers with a phone number and website to get information on water qualityKS
Nursery Purified Water No source information included on labelLabel details water sources: Arrowhead Springs; Millcreek Township, PA/Diamond Spring; Clat Township, PA/ Ephrata Well; Ephrata Township, PA/West Earl Township Municipal Water Supply; Ephrata, PADC; CA
Nursery Purified Water Label did not guide consumers to water quality informationLabel provides consumers with a phone number and website to get information on water qualityDC; CA
Earth2O 100% Natural Spring WaterLabel did not provide information on water purificationLabel provides information on water purification: "100% naturally filtered" CA
Essentia Purified Drinking Water Label did not guide consumers to water quality informationLabel provides consumers with a phone number to get information on water qualityCA
Refreshe Spring WaterLabel did not guide consumers to water quality informationLabel provides consumers with a phone number to get information on water qualityCA
Refreshe Spring Water No website available to inform consumers about productWebsite available with information on the purification process and water testing CA


Table 2: 7 bottled water brands gave customers less information in 2008 than in 2009

Product20082009Labels sent from?
Kroger Purified Drinking WaterLabel provided information on purification type: Reverse OsmosisLabel did not provide information on purification typeAR (2009 labels from OH and MI were unchanged from 2008)
Kirkland Signature Mountain Spring Water Vague source information available on product label: Polk County, TennesseeNo source information available on product labelNM
Acqua Panna Natural Spring WaterWebsite provides precise source information: Acqua Panna Spring, Tuscany Website provides vague source information: "sources are located 3,700 feet high in the serene Apennines Mountains of Tuscany"FL
Mountain Valley Spring WaterWebsite listed purification techniques used to treat the waterWebsite did not list purification techniques used to treat the waterFL
Wegmans Spring WaterLabel includes vague information about water source: "the CG Roxane Spring source, Moultonborough, CG Roxane, NH 03254"Label does not disclose water sourceNY
New Zealand Eternal Artesian Water- Silica RichLabel includes vague source information: "New Zealand Aquifer"No source information disclosed on labelKS
Hinckley Springs Spring Water Vague source information given on product label: Spring, Rock Springs, WINo source information given on product labelKS


Table 3: 19 bottled water companies gave customers the same information in 2008 as in 2009

ProductStates labels sent from
Aquafina Purified Drinking WaterCA; KS; NE; CT; PA; CO
Simply H2O by Berkley & Jensen Purified WaterFL
Ethos Water Natural Spring WaterFL
Voss Artesian WaterVA
Icelandic Glacial Natural Spring WaterVA
American Fare Purified WaterPA
Naturally Preferred Pure Mountain Spring WaterOH
Springtime Artesian WaterMS
Absopure Natural Spring WaterKS
Evamor Alkaline Artesian Water BeverageMO
CVS Gold Emblem Natural Spring WaterDC
Iceland Spring Natural Icelandic Spring WaterDC; VA
Trader Joe's Mountain Spring WaterIL
Perrier Sparkling Natural Mineral WaterCA
Contrex Natural Mineral WaterCA
Hawaii Water Ultra-Pure Bottled WaterCA
Gerolsteiner Natural Mineral WaterDC; CA
365 Everyday Value Electrolyte Enhanced WaterDC; CA
Whole Foods Market Italian Still Mineral WaterDC; CA