Representative Keith Rothfus Speaks to Bottled Water Industry About Healthy Hydration Choices

Media Release
November 3, 2015
 

Washington, DC—Today, International Bottled Water Association (IBWA) President and CEO Joseph Doss thanked U.S. Representative Keith Rothfus (R-PA) for his continued efforts in Congress to promote healthy hydration options for Americans. Doss made his comments during a gathering of the association’s Government Relations Committee, during IBWA’s Annual Business Conference being held at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center near Washington, DC.

In welcoming Rep. Rothfus, Doss remarked that, “we need leaders like you in Washington - who will work to help ensure that visitors from all over the world can choose the healthiest packaged beverage product when they and their families visit our nation's beautiful national parks.”

“IBWA appreciates Rep. Rothfus’ efforts to work with his colleagues in the House of Representatives, to successfully pass an amendment to stop the National Park Service (NPS) policy that allows for the banning of bottled water sales in America’s national parks.”

Last July, Rep. Rothfus, who serves on the powerful House Financial Services Committee, introduced an amendment to an Interior Appropriations bill (H.R. 2822), that recognizes that access to bottled water is a key component of healthy hydration. His amendment prohibits the NPS from using any funds to implement or maintain bans on the sale of bottled water at any national park, but it does not prohibit parks from continuing sales of other beverages or from providing tap water filing stations. IBWA appreciates that Rep. Rothfus understands that promoting water consumption, in all its forms (tap, filtered, and bottled), is a useful message that can help Americans make more healthful beverage choices.

The House action to halt the policy allowing the NPS to ban the sale of bottled water is supported by research published on May 14, 2015, in the American Journal of Public Health (AJPH), which confirms that bans or restrictions on the sale of bottled water increase consumption of less-healthy beverages and are an ineffective means of reducing plastic waste. The study, “The Unintended Consequences of Changes in Beverage Options and the Removal of Bottled Water on a University Campus,” concluded that a bottled water sales ban at the University of Vermont (UVM)—which is very similar to the national parks sales ban—resulted not only in a significant increase in the consumption of sugary drinks but also an increase, rather than a reduction, in the amount of plastic bottles entering the waste stream.

In addition, research has shown that when bottled water isn’t available, 63 percent of people will choose soda or another sugary drink—not tap water. When bottled water is not available in vending machines, people choose other less-healthy packaged beverages, which may contain sugar, caffeine, and other additives.

“We believe by supporting access to buying bottled water in our National Parks you are supporting a healthy and sustainable way for park visitors to stay hydrated while having the lowest environmental footprint,” said Doss.

Whether visiting a national park or simply running errands, people may not have access to water fountains or filling stations—so it’s important that healthy packaged beverage options, such as bottled water, are available.

IBWA has long opposed the policy set forth in a 2011 NPS policy memorandum that allows national park units to ban the sale of bottled water in plastic containers. “This ban is a misguided attempt to deal with a waste management issue that would be better addressed through efforts to improve recycling rates of all packaged drinks,” said Doss. In addition, bans on the sale of bottled water contradict the NPS’s Healthy Parks Healthy People initiative, which promotes more healthy food and beverage choices in national parks, and First Lady Michelle Obama’s Drink Up Initiative, which encourages the consumption of all types of water, whether filtered, tap, or bottled.

Doss said, “We look forward to continuing to work with Rep. Rothfus and others in Congress to ensure that important healthy hydration policies are recognized that can help combat the health crisis in America.”

For more on IBWA and healthy hydration, visit www.bottledwater.org.

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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, including spring, mineral, purified, artesian, and sparkling. 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, to set comprehensive and stringent standards for safe, high-quality bottled water products.

In addition to FDA regulations, IBWA member bottlers must 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 a mandatory annual plant inspection by an independent, third-party organization.

IBWA is proud to be an active supporter of Drink Up!, an initiative of First Lady Michelle Obama and the Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA), which encourages Americans to drink more water more often – whether from the tap, a filter, or in a bottle. Choosing water is always the healthy choice.

Consumers can contact IBWA at 1-800-WATER-11 or visit IBWA's website (www.bottledwater.org) for more information about bottled water. Media inquiries can be directed to IBWA Vice President of Communications Chris Hogan at 703-647-4609 or chogan@bottledwater.org