Like iPods and cell phones, bottled water is private, portable, and individual. It's factory- sealed and untouched by human hands-a far cry from the public water fountain. (Fiji exploits this subliminal germophobia with its slogan "Untouched by Man," as does a company called Ice Rocks that sells "hygienic ice cubes"-springwater hermetically packaged in disposable plastic.) Somehow, we've become a nation obsessed with hygiene and sterility. Never, outside of an epidemic, have we been more afraid of our own bodies. Supermarkets provide antibacterial wipes for shopping cart handles. Passengers bring their own linens to cover airline pillows. Supermarkets wrap ears of corn in plastic: corn still in its husk! (The downside, besides mountains of waste, is the development of super-resistant bacteria immune to most of the commonly used antibiotics.)There's also a fun story about how she didn't take a taste of Poland Spring water when she visited Tom Brennan, natural resources manager for Nestle Waters North America, in a visit to Hollis, Maine, because Royte was afraid she'd like it more than the tap water she brought to the interview. Watch for more coverage of "Bottlemania," and an accompanying new wave of TV and new reports critical of the bottled water sector.
Bottlemania in the news
Elizabeth Royte, a noted science and environmental author, has a new book, "Bottlemania: How Water Went On Sale And Why We Bought It," that's going to be in the news in the next few weeks. Here's a link to a review from the Huffington Post, and an excerpt from the book, courtesy of alternet.org. From the excerpt, it is clear that Royte is a good writer. She weaves facts and humor together in an entertaining style:
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