Overregulation on Tap

Overregulation on Tap

July 11, 2009
Originally published in The Washington Post

Dana Milbank's July 9 Washington Sketch ["A Congressman With a Thirst for Truth"] on hearings on bottled water highlighted the absurdity of Washington policymaking. As wars and recessions loom, our leaders focus on the silliest issue of whether to slap nanny-state rules on the "menace" of bottled water. When is consumer choice, convenience and good hydration a menace?

Mr. Milbank said that the lawmakers suggested that bottled water is of lesser quality than tap water, and that we need more regulation. As Food and Drug Administration officials pointed out at the hearing, that isn't the case.

In addition to meeting stringent FDA standards that mirror tap water standards from the Environmental Protection Agency, the FDA applies standards for food safety and sanitary packaging. And the container prevents contamination during delivery, unlike tap water, which can be contaminated in the pipes.

While both kinds of water are relatively safe, tap water has more health-related incidents by factors in the tens of thousands. Not surprisingly, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends bottled water for people with compromised immune systems.