Release of Corporate Accountability International Report “Tapping Congress to Get off the Bottle”

I begin by thanking Corporate Accountability International and DC Water for encouraging so many to become bottle free and for not letting Congress off the hook.

I have to give it to the genius of American business and marketing though. Companies that market soft drinks and juices discovered a new product as they turned on their collective faucets, put a price on this public commodity, bottled it, and proceeded contaminate the environment with plastic bottles that may carry health risks. Any day now, they will be selling bottled air to the House of Representatives.

The new House majority, on a hunt for what to cut, need look no further than some our own offices – not mine, I am pleased to say – and hearing rooms, where members of Congress can only get a drink of water from a bottle. Today, we call on Congress to go bottle free, bring back the pitchers of safe tap water that the government pays for anyway as a DC Water customer, and save a million dollars annually.

How we fell for bottling our water as necessary and even hip is a cautionary tale of its own. There are several indicators of an advanced nation - not IT, as many developing nations have cell phones and other gadgets, and not automobiles; they are ubiquitous. Safe drinking water, though, is such a recognized salient indicator of an advance society, and the US crossed that threshold as the 20th century began. That miracle of a rebuilding brought us bottled water in the seventies. Jogging and bottled became popular at the same time. Water scares here and elsewhere added to concerns about tap water.

But did anyone ever wonder about the safety of bottled water? We presumed that, if it came in a bottle, it must be safe, yet almost 70 percent of bottled water is exempt from any FDA regulation because of giant loopholes. Tap water, on the other hand, is closely regulated and monitored throughout the US. Tap water is constantly tested for e coli, fecal matter and other contaminants. Bottled water is not. It is time to swear off bottled water, and with it, the bottles that fill our landfills.

Our House office accounts have been cut justifiably in the light of the economy. As long as Congress is cutting, it’s time to pick the low hanging bottled fruit and save a million dollars in-House, and much more for the environment.

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