by Stephanie Soechtig and Jason Lindsey (2009)
Tapped is about the negative health and environmental effects of bottled water, and the obscene greed and dishonesty of multinational bottling companies like Nestle, Coke and Pepsi. With the recent decline in soft drink sales (owing to health concerns), the world’s biggest soft drink companies have latched onto the bottled water scam. According to the filmmakers, 40% of bottled water is actually bottled tap water. Acquafina (bottled tap water) is the major Pepsi brand. Dasani is made by Coke.
The Citizens Movement Against Water Mining
The film opens with a snapshot of citizen campaigns in Maine, Colorado and Michigan trying to stop the Swiss food giant Nestle from emptying their fresh water aquifers – free of charge – and selling it back to them for 1900 times the cost of tap water.
It goes on to feature Raleigh and Atlanta residents who were ordered to restrict water usage during a recent drought – while bottled water companies continued to remove hundreds of thousands of gallons from their shrinking aquifers.
Health and Environmental Hazards of PET Plastic
In addition to the depletion of aquifers, rivers and streams by the $800 billion bottled water industry, the manufacture and disposal of plastic bottled water containers is even more hazardous to human health and the environment.
In the US, all the paraxylene used in water bottles is manufactured (from petroleum) at in Corpus Cristi Texas. An extremely dirty industry, the Flint Hills factory releases benzene and other toxic contaminants to the surrounding air, water and soil. Accordingly, Corpus Christi has a far higher rate of cancer and birth defects than anywhere else in Texas.
Neither “Pure” Nor Safe
Contrary to all the advertising hype, unlike tap water, no federal or state agency is responsible for monitoring the purity or safety of bottled water. Independent testing of major brands has revealed contamination with bacterial pathogens, arsenic and cancer causing chemicals such as vinyl chloride, benzene, butadiene, styrene and toluene.
This is in addition to the phlalates and bisphenyl A that leach into the water from the plastic. The National Institutes of Health has linked bisphenyl A, one of the most toxic chemicals known to man, to childhood diabetes; obesity; breast and prostate cancer; liver, ovarian and uterine disease; and reduced sperm counts.
The Disposal Nightmare
Along with plastic bags, a large proportion of discarded water bottles (which never totally degrade) end up in the ocean, where they have resulted in enormous dead zones in the central and south Pacific, the North and South Atlantic and the Indian Ocean.
In view of all these concerns (and the refusal of Nestle, Pepsi and Coke to address them), some cities and universities have taken the bold step of banning bottled water sales. Six states have introduced a container deposit charge on plastic bottles to ensure they are recycled.