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Federal and State Laws Regarding Bottled Water - An Overview and Recommendations for Reform

Noah D. Hall

Wayne State University Law School

December 12, 2007

Water bottling is big business and getting bigger, growing by about ten percent annually over the past five years. The most important environmental concerns from a legal and regulatory perspective relate to the impact of water extraction to fill the billions of bottles Americans purchase every year. While water bottling has almost no impact on the total national freshwater supply, the majority of bottled water comes from groundwater which has a direct hydrologic connection to springs and other vulnerable surface waters. Thus, even relatively small water withdrawals for bottled water can produce significant impacts at the local scale on other water users and the environment.

Bottled water is regulated by the federal government as a food product by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). FDA regulations provide for source identity labeling of bottled water. Consumer preferences seem to favor bottled water labeled as spring water over bottled water from other sources, including municipal supply. This has inadvertently led to increased pressures on vulnerable spring resources. The FDA should immediately begin a process to review and revise its source identity rule to consider the impact of bottled water withdrawals on springs and other vulnerable water resources.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 22

Keywords: water law, bottled water, spring water

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Date posted: December 16, 2007  

Suggested Citation

Hall, Noah D., Federal and State Laws Regarding Bottled Water - An Overview and Recommendations for Reform (December 12, 2007). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1072887 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1072887

Contact Information

Noah D. Hall (Contact Author)
Wayne State University Law School ( email )
471 Palmer
Detroit, MI 48202
United States
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