International Bottled Water Association response to release of Los Angeles County's water contamination research

The president of the International Bottled Water Association made a statement on the safety of bottled water today in defense of its product after test results were released by the LA Country Environmental Toxicology Bureau.

ALEXANDRIA, Va., Aug. 16, 2001 — The president of the International Bottled Water Association made a statement on the safety of bottled water today in defense of its product after test results were released by the LA Country Environmental Toxicology Bureau.

The following is a statement by Joseph K. Doss, President of the International Bottled Water Association (IBWA):

The bottled waters tested by the Los Angeles County Environmental Toxicology Bureau met all regulatory standards set by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the California Department of Health (DOH). All IBWA member brands tested were below California's Public Health Goals for chromium. Of the 57 brands tested, only one bottled water brand slightly exceeded EPA's Public Health Goal for chromium (which is not a regulation), and the manufacturer of that brand is NOT a member of IBWA.

The FDA and EPA regulatory standards for chromium are 100 parts per billion (ppb). The California DOH and the IBWA Model Code, which must be met by all IBWA members, set a more exacting standard of 50ppb.

These regulatory standards for chromium apply to both bottled water and tap water. In addition to these regulatory standards, the California Environmental Protection Agency establishes Public Health Goals which agencies consider when setting a regulatory level.

IBWA members comply with all federal and state Standards of Quality and other applicable laws and regulations — and often go well beyond established government standards. All IBWA brands tested met the drinking water standard or the Public Health Goal for total chromium. All water providers monitor and test for chromium, including the chromium 6 ion.

There are no established Public Health Goals or drinking water standards for chromium 6. (See http://www.oehha.ca.gov/water/phg for all the public health goals established to date.) The survey, therefore, incorrectly stated that several bottled water brands exceeded a Public Health Goal. California is considering the establishment of a Public Health Goal for chromium 6, but has indicated more research is needed.

In addition to meeting all applicable standards that public water systems meet, bottled water manufacturers must also adhere to specific and stringent Standards of Quality (SOQs) mandated by the FDA, which regulates bottled water as a packaged food product.

Under the IBWA Model Code, all IBWA member bottlers are subject to annual, unannounced plant inspections by an independent third party to ensure compliance with this and other standards. Further, IBWA members employ the Multi-Barrier Approach to ensure that consumers enjoy safe, high quality, bottled water products. The Multi-Barrier Approach includes source protection, source monitoring, reverse osmosis, distillation, filtration, ozonation or ultraviolet (UV) light.

The International Bottled Water Association (IBWA) is the authoritative source of information about all types of bottled waters distributed in the United States. Founded in 1958, IBWA member companies account for more than 80 percent of all bottled water sales in the U.S. IBWA's membership includes U.S. and international bottlers, distributors and suppliers. IBWA is committed to working with state and federal governments, in concert with the IBWA Model Code, to set stringent bottled water standards for safe, high quality products. Consumers can contact IBWA at 1-800-WATER-11 or log onto IBWA's web site (http://www.bottledwater.org ) for more information about bottled water and a list of members' brands.

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