In Bottlemania, Elizabeth Royte explores the controversy surrounding bottled water, and the reasons for its appeal. In addition to describing the obvious environmental impacts of choosing bottled versus tap water, she visits local communities where bottled waters such as Poland Spring are sourced to learn about how consumer decisions affect such communities. Royte fairly evaluates the health risks of both bottled and municipal water, and discusses at length various ways water can be made safe to drink.
My home has well water, and I was disappointed that well water was not discussed more in this book. Although Royte does acknowledge that well water testing is expensive, she does not offer an opinion as to whether the cost of testing and potential safety hazards outweigh those associated with bottled water for those of us with wells.
Ultimately Royte offers no easy answers to some of the questions she raises, but she does make a strong case that choosing bottled water over tap makes water a commodity rather than a basic human right. Bottlemania is a quick and informative read.