Viewpoint: Think before you drink

You know most grandparents laugh, when they hear how much we spend on the new fancy bottled water that we drink.

In truth, Consumers know less about the water they pay dearly for in bottles, than what they can drink almost for free from the tap because the two are regulated differently.

Both the (GAO) Government Accountability Office and the Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit research organization, recommend that bottled water be labeled with the same level of information the municipal water providers must disclose.

They urged Americans to make bottled water "a distant second choice" to filtered tap water, because there isn't enough information about bottled water.

Bottled water - an industry worth about $16 billion in sales last year - has been suffering lately as colleges, communities and some governments take measures to limit or ban its consumption. They are motivated by cost savings and environmental concern because the bottles often are not recycled.

From 1997 to 2007, the amount of bottled water consumed per person in the U.S. more than doubled, from 13 gallons to 29 gallons, the GAO report said.

From a survey of officials in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, the GAO thinks consumers are misinformed about bottled water."Many replied that consumers often believe that bottled water is safer or healthier than tap water,"

Consumers may not realize that many regulations that apply to municipalities responsible for tap water do not apply to companies that produce bottled water.

We think if the municipal tap water systems can tell their customers this information, you would think that bottled water companies that charge 1,000 times more for this water could also let consumers know the same thing.