Bottlemania: How Water Went on Sale and Why We Bought It

Elizabeth Royte, Author . Bloomsbury $24.99 (248p) ISBN 978-1-59691-371-4

Royte (Garbage Land ) plunges into America’s mighty thirst for bottled water in an investigation of “one of the greatest marketing coups of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.” As tap water has become cleaner and better-tasting, the bottled water industry has exploded into a $60 billion business; consumers guzzle more high-priced designer water than milk or beer and spend billions on brands such as Pepsi’s Aquafina and Coke’s Dasani that are essentially processed municipal water. It’s an unparalleled—and almost exclusively American—“social phenomenon.” With journalistic zeal, Royte chronicles the questionable practices of Nestle-owned Poland Springs and documents the environmental impact of discarded plastic bottles, the carbon footprint of water shipped long distances and health concerns around the leaching of plastic compounds from bottles. Not all tap water is perfectly pure, writes Royte, still, 92% of the nation’s 53,000 local water systems meet or exceed federal safety standards and “it is the devil we know,” at least as good and often better than bottled water. This portrait of the science, commerce and politics of potable water is an entertaining and eye-opening narrative. (June)

Reviewed on: 03/31/2008
Release date: 05/01/2008
Paperback - 266 pages - 978-1-59691-372-1
Paperback - 272 pages - 978-986-6369-17-9
Open Ebook - 272 pages - 978-1-60819-663-0
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