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Don't Drink the (Bottled) Water

  • 'Tapped' Documentary Pulls Plug on Bottled Water Craze
    By Claire Thompson
    Grist Magazine, 3 Aug 2009
    Straight to the Source

Tapped, a new documentary about the bottled water industry from director Stephanie Soechtig and the producers of Who Killed the Electric Car? is a pretty damning look at how consumers have been tricked into spending too much money on water packaged in plastic and quite often not as clean as what’s available from the faucet.

I knew bottled water sucks, but I didn’t know it sucks this much. Not only is it a clear waste of resources (only 20 percent of plastic water bottles used in the United States are recycled, and far too many of the rest probably end up in the Pacific Garbage Patch), it’s an incredible waste of money for consumers, who pay more than the price of gasoline for water that’s marketed as “pure,” but in reality is largely unregulated, full of harmful toxins like BPA, and far less safe for drinking than free tap water. (In fact, 40 percent of the time, bottled water is nothing but municipal tap water, freed from the government oversight that keeps it safe.)

Tapped, which began a one-week run at the IFC Center in New York on Friday, traces the evolution of bottled water from its hoity-toity Perrier days to its present ubiquity, and succeeds at making the industry reps look like total jerks. A few too many mid-interview cutaways to Soechtig looking concerned came off as a little journalistically self-important, but Tapped does a solid job of covering every aspect of this damaging industry and inspiring more outrage than despair. It features interviews with the likes of Atlanta mayor Shirley Franklin and Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), not to mention some footage of Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) tearing into an FDA rep at a government hearing.

I will never look at bottled water with anything less than loathing from now on.

Watch the trailer:

The film’s website lists where you can see it in the theater. So far, it will be screened in a smattering of cities on the East and West costs. There’s also a Facebook page for the film.

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