Is Your Bottled Water Worth It?: Claims on Labels
Thanks to FDA’s lax regulations, consumers are typically not being provided with substantive information on source, treatment and testing that would allow them to make informed bottled water purchasing decisions. Instead, they are often left to rely on marketing claims to inform their choices.
This lack of transparency in the industry becomes a bigger problem for consumers when the marketing claims are inflated or sensational. While this is certainly not true in every case, EWG’s review of bottled water marketing claims uncovered more than a few that were questionable, and several that were downright outlandish.
Claims on Healing Properties
Several brands rely on local legends of curative powers to help sell their product, or make general claims of health benefits not backed by public data:
- The Poland Spring website claims that its water gained its reputation for its curative powers and purity in 1793 when water from the spring cured a man on his death bed and he lived an additional 52 yrs. [http://www.nestle-watersna.com/Menu/OurBrands/PolandSpring/Poland+Spring+Heritage.htm]
- The Ozarka brand website claims that Indian tribes were drawn to the source for its healing properties and describes stories such as eyesight restoration for a blind young Indian princess and cure of an eye ailment in a son of a local doctor during the Civil War. (Ozarka notes at the bottom of this webpage that they no longer use this source.) [http://www.ozarkawater.com/AboutUs/Default.aspx]
- Mountain Valley Spring Water claims that by the early 1900's its water had become "well known as a remedy in the treatment of gout, rheumatism, diabetes, and kidney diseases." [http://www.healthwatersinc.com/ourhistory.html]
- Iceland Spring Natural Icelandic Spring Water adopted the tagline "Live Longer" to echo "the statistics of Icelanders living longer than other nationalities due to their pristine drinking water." [http://www.icelandmicroblog.com/a403203-iceland-spring-adopts-new-brand-positioning.cfm]
- Evian boasts that "Evian water has long been regarded as a fountain of youth – a symbol of health, healing and general well-being." [http://www.evian.com/ca/purity/pdf/24055_Purity_Brochure_082506.pdf]
- Evamor Alkaline Artesian Water Beverage promises to "protect bones; healthy blood pressure; reduce body fat; protect muscle mass, circulatory system and kidneys; improve digestion and digestive acid issues; reduce overall body acid." [http://www.evamor.com/about-the-product/the-source.php]
- Essentia Purified Drinking Water claims to provide antioxidant benefits to prevent cell damage leading to aging and disease. Essentia website also includes statements such as "Essentia Water is a Prescription for Life" and "Essentia Water is recommended by more doctors to protect, improve and enhance the quality of your health and well being." [http://www.essentiawater.com/info.html]
Claims of High Purity
Many brands claim to be pure but don’t always provide data to back up the assertions:
- Volvic claims that its products are "extremely pure and distinctly different." [http://www.volvic-na.com/]
- Ice Mountain Natural Spring Waters goes even further, claiming that its waters are "pure as the driven snow." [http://www.icemountainwater.com/KnowH2O/OurSources.aspx]
- Fiji states that its Natural Artesian Water is "untouched by man"[http://www.fijiwater.com/Bottled.aspx] and "far from pollution."[http://www.fijiwater.com/Ecosystem.aspx] Fiji’s website goes on to say that the rainfall that replenishes its aquifer is "purified by equatorial winds."
- The website of the well-known Poland Spring speaks of "Pure Quality," and states that "Our 100% natural spring water is filtered naturally by the earth, captured at the source and continually tested to ensure the highest quality." [http://www.polandspring.com/KnowH2O/Be-Assured.aspx]
- The website of Aquamantra Natural Spring Water states that its water "resonates with the energy and frequency of well-being" and that the mantras written on the bottles "change the molecular structure of the water." [http://aquamantra.com/site.php/spgs/read/what_is_aquamantra]
- Similarly, H2Om Natural Spring Water claims to be "the world's first interactive water," with specially designed labels [that] transmit the frequencies of colors, symbols, and positive words to [the consumer] and the water." [http://www.h2omwater.com/home.php]