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The city of Denver hosted to Corporate Accountability International’s Tap Water Challenge. Denver is the 35th city to participate in the Challenge that puts the bottled water claims of Coke, Nestle and Pepsi to the test.
The event is a part of Corporate Accountability International's "Think Outside the Bottle" campaign, which counters the marketing myths and political power of bottled water corporations.
This month's Tap Water Challenges are part of "Blue October," an internationally recognized month of awareness about the importance of protecting people's access to water as a human right.
Three out of four Americans drink bottled water and one in five Americans drink only bottled water.
"Corporations like Coke (Dasani), Nestle (Poland Spring), and Pepsi (Aquafina) spend tens of millions of dollars every year to undermine people's confidence in tap water, even though bottled water is less regulated and sometimes less safe," said Corporate Accountability International associate campaigns director Gigi Kellett.
"This is about much more than price gouging or duping the public," said Tony Clarke, director of the Polaris Institute. "Our human right to water is at stake. Bottled water is the most visible example of corporate control of our water."
Tap Water Challenges around the country demonstrate that people usually cannot tell the difference between bottled water and tap water. Many people do not realize the FDA does not directly test and monitor most bottled water, but generally relies on bottled water corporations to do voluntary testing and self-monitoring instead. Corporate Accountability International considers this to be a dangerous formula.
"At Coke's annual shareholders' meeting this year, its CEO claimed consumers pay for increased 'security' when buying Dasani," said Kellett. "But just two years ago, half a million bottles of Dasani were recalled in the United Kingdom because they were contaminated with cancer-causing bromate. This summer, U.S. bottled water brands were pulled off supermarket shelves for the same reason, and Coke and Pepsi products were both found to be contaminated with pesticides for the second time in India."
Corporate Accountability International and people across the country are demanding that Coke, Nestle, and Pepsi reveal the water sources used for bottling, publicly report breaches in bottled water quality (comparable to the quality reports of public water systems), and stop threatening local control of water when siting and operating bottled water plants.
This month they are joined by organizations and activists in 30 countries challenging corporate control of water as part of Blue October.
According to the United Nations, two-thirds of the world's people won't have access to enough water by 2025. In the face of limited water supply, corporations are increasingly seeking to turn water into a profit-driven commodity. Supplying water is already a $420 billion annual business and expected to grow significantly in the next 10 to 15 years.