FAQ

The International Council of Bottled Water Associations has compiled answers to frequently asked questions about bottled water.

The International Council of Bottled Water Associations (ICBWA) is comprised of members from regional/country bottled water Associations, not individual people or companies. Member Associations include Asia, Australasia, Brazil, Canada, Europe, Latin America, the United States of America, and industry suppliers coalition. Members will further strengthen and promote the global bottled water industry by supporting and adhering to rigorous international product quality standards, by facilitating learning and providing a flow of information about the bottled water industry, among its members, international agencies and stakeholders.
Bottled waters are classified as a food product, and are prepackaged/bottled and suitable for human consumption.
Each Member Association has its own Bottled Water Model Code, in which one section addresses specific types of bottled water based on local/national regulation. Codex Alimentarius, the food standards body of the World Health Organization (WHO), has world-wide bottled water standards which stipulate product types are to be specified by national legislation. However, the types of water must meet the classification of either "Waters defined by origin" or "Prepared waters", to ensure consistent information is provided to consumers. Examples of "Waters defined by origin:" Spring water, mineral water, artesian water, well water, glacial water, iceberg water. Examples of "Prepared waters:" Drinking water, table water, purified water, distilled water, reverse osmosis water.
Bottled water is regulated on at least three levels: Codex Alimentarius, national, and trade association. National regulations, coupled with industry standards offer consumers assurance that bottled water is stringently regulated, tested, safe and of the highest quality. Codex Alimentarius: the food standards body of the World Health Organization (WHO) and Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). Countries can regard Codex Alimentarius bottled water standards as the presumptive standard in cases where there is not a local or national corresponding standard for bottled water in a particular country. ICBWA standards are enforced by its member Associations. As a condition of membership, bottlers must submit to an annual, unannounced plant inspection administered by an approved independent, internationally recognized third-party inspection agency. This inspection audits quality and testing records; reviews all areas of plant operation from source through finished product; and checks compliance with relevant national standards, Good Manufacturing Practices, and any other local regulations.
Bottled water is protected by a multi-barrier approach, which may include steps such as source protection and monitoring, reverse osmosis, micron filtration, distillation, ozonation, the application of ultraviolet light or other appropriate measures. Some bottled waters may also come from treated municipal supplies. All member Associations are encouraged to employ at least two of the barriers cited for effective removal of microbial (surface water) contaminants, including cryptosporidium. These processing methods are reverse osmosis, one micron absolute filtration, and distillation.
No. Each bottler is required to test both source and finished product for substances listed in their Bottled Water Model Code. Further, products must be in compliance with applicable safety and quality standards in order to be sold in the commercial marketplace.
The bacteria typically found in bottled water is a harmless form of bacteria, and is routinely found in milk, vegetables, and other products with no ill effects. Virtually every food product you consumer contains higher traces of bacteria than that found in bottled water.
Dehydration is among the top 10 reasons older patients are admitted to hospitals, account to a study by Tufts University. Proper hydration is important for all individuals, but the young and elderly are especially vulnerable.
You should drink ounce of water for each point of your body weight. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, you should drink 75 ounces or about nine 8 ounce glasses a day.
International Council standards are enforced by its member Associations. As a condition of membership, bottlers must submit to an annual, unannounced plant inspection administered by an approved independent, internationally recognized third-party inspection agency. This inspection audits quality and testing records; reviews all areas of plant operation from source through finished product; and checks compliance with national standards, Good Manufacturing Practices, and any other local regulations.
Cryptosporidium and giardia are waterborne parasites that lives in animals and can be passed into surface water through their waste. Cryptosporidium oocysts from animal waste have been found in rivers, streams, lakes, reservoirs and many other types of surface water.
Consumers can be assured that bottled water produced by a bottled water company under the stringent monitoring by a member Association does not contain cryptosporidium or giardia because they are required to use water only from approved sources. Underground sources (i.e., springs and wells) must be protected from surface water infiltration and intrusion from other environmental influences. The second type of approved sources are potable municipal supplies. Bottled water companies using municipal source must reprocess this water using distillation, reverse osmosis, deionization and/or micronfiltration. This ensures that the finished product is very different from the original source water.
Consumers can trust that bottled water is safe because of the regulatory requirements by Codex Alimentarius, national legislation, and industry associations. International Council standards are enforced by it member Associations. As a condition of membership, bottlers must submit to an annual, unannounced plant inspection administered by an approved independent, internationally recognized third-party inspection agency. This inspection audits quality and testing records; reviews all areas of plant operation from source through finished product; and checks compliance with national standards, Good Manufacturing Practices, and any other local regulations.
Bottled water is different from tap water in many ways. One major difference between the two is the source water. Tap water is often surface water (lakes, rivers, etc.) which may be subject to contamination. Most bottled water originates from protected underground sources. The distribution systems for tap and bottled water are a second important difference. While tap water distribution often rely on many kilometers of antiquated piping, bottled water products are produced in food processing plants and packaged in clean, sealed containers.
If properly stored, bottled water can be stored indefinitely.
Bottled water should be stored in a cool (i.e., room temperature), dry environment away from chemicals such as household cleaning products and away from solvents such as gasoline, paint thinners and other toxic materials. It should also be kept out of direct sunlight for protracted periods.
One obvious solution is to have bottled water on hand in your home. This can provide drinking water throughout the year so you can rotate your water supply (every four months is suggested). This ensures you always have safe, clean drinking water available in case of emergency. In case of emergency, the Red Cross recommends 1 gallon per person per day for a week.
According to the American Plastics Council, "Polycarbonate plastics, which are used in some baby bottles and kitchen storage containers, are safe and convenient for the preparation and storage of all types of foods and beverages."
Australasian Bottled Water Institute Level 1, Suite 4 6 - 8 Crewe Place Rosebery NSW 2018 Australia Contact: Geoff Parker Telephone: 61 02 9662 4822 Fax: 61 02 9662 2899 Email: info@australianbeverages.org Web Site: www.australianbeverages.orgwww.ourbottledwater.org

Brazilian Industry Association of Mineral Waters (ABINAM) Brazilian Association of Mineral Waters Industry Rua Pedroso Alvarenga -584 - 4 and. Conjunto 43 - Itaim Bibi CEP 04531-001 Sao Paulo/SP Brasil Contact: Dr Petra Sanchez Telephone: 55 (11) 3167-2008 Fax: 55 (11) 3167-2542 abinam@abinam.com.br Website: www.abinam.com.br

Canadian Bottled Water Association 617-7357 Woodbine Avenue Markham, Ontario, Canada L3R 6L3 Contact: Elizabeth Griswold Telephone: 416.618.1763 Fax: 866 354 2788 Email: griswold@cbwa.ca Web Site: www.cbwa.ca

China Beverage Industry Association TYF Centre (Tian Yuan Gang), No 2C Dongsanhuanbeilu, Chaoyang District, Beijing Contact: Scott X Shi, Ph.D Telephone: 0086-532-67769540 Email: sxc@chinabeverage.org   Web Site: www.chinabeverage.org

European Federation of Bottled Waters Place des Barricades 1 1000 Brussels, Belgium Contact: Patricia Fosselard Telephone: 32 2 880 20 30 Fax: 32 2 880 20 35 Email: info@efbw.org Web Site: www.efbw.org

Latin American Bottled Water Association Avenida Las Am ricas 4-52, Zona 13 Guatemala, C.A. 01013 Contact: Edgar A. Castillo Telephone: 502 2310-7342/43 Email: info@labwa.org Website: www.labwa.org

International Bottled Water Association (United States) 1700 Diagonal Road, Suite 650 Alexandria, Virginia, 22314 USA Contact: Joe Doss Telephone: 703 647-4605 Facsimile: 703 683-4074 Email: jdoss@bottledwater.org Web Site: www.bottledwater.org