IBWA Statement Regarding Concord, Massachusetts, Ban on the Sale of Bottled Water

For Immediate Release
January 4, 2013

Alexandria, VA – The International Bottled Water Association (IBWA) today issued the following statement regarding the banning of bottled water sales in Concord, Massachusetts.

“On January 1, 2013, a law prohibiting the sale of single-serve non-sparkling, unflavored drinking water in PET plastic containers of one liter (34 ounces) in size or less went into effect.  This ban also includes bottled water sold in cases and individual bottles sold via vending machines.  IBWA opposes this ban on a healthy, safe, convenient and refreshing beverage choice.

IBWA continues to work with its members, the Northeast Bottled Water Association (NEBWA), Massachusetts business and industry associations, and citizens and businesses in Concord to prepare for next steps in the fight against the law.  Reflecting local opposition to the ban, on January 2, 2013, the group Concord Residents for Consumer Choice filed a petition to repeal the law at the April 2013 Town Hall meeting.

People need to drink more water. The consumption of water, whether from the bottle or the tap, is a good thing and supports people’s pursuit of a healthy lifestyle.  Any actions that discourage people from drinking bottled water are not in the public interest. People choose bottled water for several reasons, including its refreshing taste, reliable quality, zero calories and additives, and convenience. Banning or restricting access to bottled water in the marketplace directly impacts the right of people to choose the healthiest beverage on the shelf.  And for many, bottled water is a critical alternative to other packaged beverages, which are often less healthy. Bottled water must therefore be available wherever packaged beverages are sold.

For those who want to eliminate or moderate calories, sugar, caffeine, artificial flavors or colors, and other ingredients from their diet, choosing bottled water is the right choice. 

With one-third of American adults now considered obese, and an increase in children's obesity rates from five to 17 percent over the past 30 years, drinking lower or zero-calorie beverages, such as water, instead of sugary beverages is regularly cited as a key component of a more healthful lifestyle.  Now more than ever, picking bottled water is a smart decision and a healthy choice when it comes to beverage options.

The bottled water industry supports a strong public water system. However, the water from public water systems is often compromised after emergency situations or natural disasters (e.g., hurricanes, floods, tornados, fires, or boil alerts).  During these times, bottled water is a necessary and reliable option to deliver clean, safe drinking water.

This ban deprives Concord residents and visitors of their choice of beverages, deprive the town of needed tax revenue, and harms local businesses that rely on bottled water sales.”

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Media Contact:
Chris Hogan
chogan@bottledwater.org
703.647.4609

The International Bottled Water Association (IBWA) is the authoritative source of information about all types of bottled waters.  Founded in 1958, IBWA's membership includes U.S. and international bottlers, distributors and suppliers.  IBWA is committed to working with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which regulates bottled water as a packaged food product, and state governments to set stringent standards for safe, high quality bottled water products.

In addition to FDA and state regulations, the Association requires member bottlers to adhere to the IBWA Bottled Water Code of Practice, which mandates additional standards and practices that in some cases are more stringent than federal and state regulations.  A key feature of the IBWA Bottled Water Code of Practice is an annual plant inspection by an independent, third party organization.  Consumers can contact IBWA at 1-800-WATER-11 or log onto IBWA's web site (www.bottledwater.org) for more information about bottled water and a list of members' brands.  Media inquiries can be directed to IBWA Vice President of Communications Chris Hogan at 703-647-4609 or chogan@bottledwater.org.