Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Bottled Water

The Competitive Enterprise Institute is a hack right-wing industry group that puts out propaganda for some of our more wretched industries. Today, they take on environmentalists for opposing bottled water. It's almost not worth going into the breach and attacking them. But the bottled water industry is so loathsome and the product so worthless, that I can't help myself.

Unless you live in the developing world, there's no reason to drink bottled water. Even if you do live where you have unsafe water, there are plenty of cheap filtering systems, including just boiling it and then cooling it. So 99% of the time, theres no reason for bottled water. And everyone over the age of 30 remembers the days before bottled water. I remember when I first saw bottled water--I must have been 8 or 9. Somehow I managed to survive without it. The environmental costs of using massive amounts of plastic and fuel to bottle and move this water are quite significant. Nonetheless, for CEI, enviromentalists are a bunch of wackos attacking an angelic industry.

For the past couple decades, bottled water had been growing in popularity as an environmentally preferred choice and as a healthy beverage alternative. Yet in recent years, environmental activists have begun attacking its value and quality. The activists’ claims do not hold water, yet, based on those claims, they are promoting bans, taxes, and regulations on bottled water—taking the Nanny State to a whole new level. The following analysis counters this “new wisdom,” questioning the justifications for this new assault on consumer freedom.

The public has freely turned to bottled water as an alternative to drinks with calories, for convenience, freshness, and whatever other reasons they themselves find worthy. Misinformation spread by activists should not determine who can access this product. People who do not like the product can make their own choices. They should not have any right to make them for the rest of us.

Similarly, the public's embracing of canned meat products in 1905 because of their "convenience, freshness, and whatever other reasons they themselves find worthy" clearly showed why something like the Pure Food and Drug Act is just another example of a "Nanny State" placing unnecessary regulations on industry. Same with DDT and other agrochemicals. Oh Nanny State, when will you stop oppressing us with your concern for safety and waste products? Not to mention your unnecessary capitalization?

Via Grist