- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 21, 2008

Three cheers to Stephen C. Edberg on his well-informed piece “Bottled or tap?” (Op-Ed, Tuesday). Mr. Edberg offers one of very few reasoned arguments on the topic, one that policymakers who seek to ban, tax or otherwise regulate bottled water should seriously consider.

As Mr. Edberg notes, bottled water has important public health applications for those with compromised immune systems, helping safeguard some of the nation’s most vulnerable individuals from waterborne diseases. Moreover, governments often buy, or seek donations of, large amounts of bottled water to use in emergencies.

The Sept. 11 disaster should be a reminder of the importance of allowing a robust free market for bottled water. The International Bottled Water Association reports that after the attacks, bottled-water companies donated more than 2 million bottles of water to the rescue workers at all locations.

What would happen if it were no longer a significant consumer item, making it less accessible during such emergencies? If lawmakers are going to ask bottled-water companies to provide their water in times of emergency (as they often do), they had better not put them out of business beforehand because of common misperceptions about bottled water.



Risk and environmental policy

Competitive Enterprise Institute


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