What’s All This Food Coloring Good For?

By guest blogger Ayala Laufer-Cahana, MD, physician (pediatrics and medical genetics), artist, serious vegetarian home cook, mother of three school-age active kids, and cofounder of Herbal Water Inc.

A new European law went into effect this summer requiring foods and drinks that contain any of six artificial food colorings linked to hyperactivity in children to post a warning label stating that the food “may have an adverse effect on activity and attention in children.”

Food makers in the U.S. don’t face such requirements. Despite the many health concerns regarding these chemicals, the use of artificial colors in food continues to rise in the U.S. Many multinational companies make dye-free food for European markets yet continue to load the dye for the U.S. market, which still has a great appetite for rainbow-colored food.  Much like butterflies and bees, we’re drawn to color—an attraction that must have served us well when colorful meant ripe fruits—and the cheapest, easiest, and most fadeproof way to saturate food with vivid colors is a chemical one.  Red 40, Yellow 5, and Yellow 6 certainly deliver dazzling colors that attract kids, and entertain them, much like a new toy.

An excellent study in the prestigious medical journal Lancet found that children in general, and not just those suffering from attention deficit disorder (ADD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), can become more impulsive, inattentive, and hyperactive from the cocktail of artificial extras found in drinks, sweets, and processed foods.

The British Medical Journal published an editorial by Andrew Kemp, professor of pediatric allergy and clinical immunology, in which he recommends a supervised trial eliminating colors and preservatives from the diet of hyperactive children as part of the standard treatment.

But hyperactivity is not the only concern. Some dyes may cause allergic reactions in sensitive individuals.  Some dyes have shown carcinogenicity in laboratory animals, and dyes may be contaminated with several cancer-causing chemicals.

What’s all this food coloring good for? The answer is simple: Synthetic colors serve absolutely no purpose whatsoever in food. They are not food—they are petroleum products added for aesthetic reasons only. The only reason they’re there is to help with sales.

I myself am crazy about color and surround myself with it. I also think it’s really important to serve food that appeals to all the senses. And the colors of the food, the dishes, and the table setting make a huge difference to how we experience the meal—even changing how it tastes to us. That’s why we should appreciate fruits, vegetables, spices, and herbs so much. They are a delight to the eyes with all their different colors, textures, and shapes.

But added artificial colors in processed foods are a different issue. They surely add nothing to your health, and may be harmful, and if the food doesn’t seem appealing enough to you without added color, it’s probably not very good.

For now, in order to know if there’s food color in a product, you need to read the ingredients list on the label. However, as consumers show a growing preference for natural foods and for foods free of colorings, companies respond by omitting colors or switching to safe, natural colorings, such as beta-carotene, turmeric, paprika, beet juice, and annatto.

By choosing foods free of food synthetic coloring, we create a market demand that pushes manufacturers to make better food.

Would you like to see the FDA enact warning labels on foods containing food coloring in the U.S.?

Read further about food coloring.

Read more from Dr. Ayala at: herbalwater.typepad.com

Dr. Ayala and her team at Herbal Water Inc. want you to experience great flavor without the fake colorings. Herbal Water Inc. makes six flavors of water by infusing organic herbal extracts in pure artesian water. No artificial sweeteners, preservatives or additives are used. Comment below or email maria@rodale.com for a chance to win one of 12 sample packs of Dr. Ayala’s Herbal Waters and Sparkling Herbal Waters!

No purchase necessary to enter or win.  A purchase will not improve your chances of winning.  Void Where Prohibited.  Sweepstakes begins at 7:30 a.m. ET on October 5, 2010 and ends at 7:30 a.m. ET on October 12, 2010.  Must be Over 18 and a US resident of 50 United States or DC to enter.  Rodale Inc., 33 East Minor Street, Emmaus, PA 18098-0099, is the operator of the Sweepstakes.  For complete rules, or to enter the sweepstakes without commenting, please see the rules located here.


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95 Responses to What’s All This Food Coloring Good For?

  1. Jenn V. October 5, 2010 at 9:39 am #

    Excellent guest post and I’d love to be entered in the contest. THANK YOU!

  2. Donata October 5, 2010 at 10:03 am #

    Love the article, as the idea of nutrition in relation to children’s behavior has been concerning me lately as I watch kids at school after lunch time, and observe young children in my family. I am also raising a teenage athlete and getting him the appropriate nutrients and hydration is always a challenge! I’ve tried making my own flavored waters and teas for him to take with him for the day but nothing appeals to those temperamental teenage taste buds. I would love to try the herbal water blends of Dr. Ayala…(p.s. have shared this article with friends and family because I felt it poignant to several discussions I’ve had with folks lately.)

  3. Marjorie Spadoni October 5, 2010 at 11:20 am #

    This is great! My daughters are allergic to red food dyes so I always read labels and give them fresh fruits and veggies most of them time. I can’t believe that food companies feel that they have to add dyes to make food look more appealing! Love the article thank you! I love Dr. Ayalas Herbal Water we drink it everyday! My girsl favorite is the Lavender.

  4. Kate October 5, 2010 at 11:55 am #

    Does the herbal water have to be in plastic bottles? Don’t we have enough plastic pollution already? I’d think it could be argued that the plastic used in the packaging outweighs the absence of artificial coloring. Let’s say no to single-use plastics, even when they’re coming from Dr. Ayala.

  5. JoAnn Quattrone October 5, 2010 at 12:01 pm #

    I have been aware of food dyes for a long time and what they are doing to “our” children in the US. Luckily more and more people are becoming aware of the situation between dyes and ADHD,allergic reactions and such. I just wish the FDA would ban these artificial dyes and use real food to add color if needed(I don’t know why we need to see a fake color of something though). It has been so long that adults and children do not realize what a real food looks like or where it comes from ! It is great that other countries have made it a point to not use these harmful dyes and now the US should follow them. Why does the US need to be last?

  6. Bill Nunes October 5, 2010 at 12:20 pm #

    Can someone comment about the food colorings available for home cooking? Are these loaded with the same artificial dyes or are there natural colors available? I don’t use them often, but the little squeeze vials make me feel like and evil scientist…

  7. Kate October 5, 2010 at 12:33 pm #

    The artificial coloring pales next to the plastic that most beverages are sold in, including Dr. Ayala’s “herbal water.” The petroleum-derived plastic leaches into the beverage (particularly during transport and in warm storage) and, of course, never leaves our environment, only degrades and further leaches its toxins for eternity. Even when it’s ‘recyclable’ it is not reusable for the same purpose, which makes it ‘downcyclable’ actually.

    I find it disingenuous and hypocritical to be talking about health while also peddling products in plastic. When faced with what to do, we side with profit and saving money, always. This is why someone who has good intentions, like Dr. Ayala, can make excuses for using plastic in her packaging, and why so many consumers will gladly go along with her, convinced that their ‘herbal water’ is better than other plastic-bottled beverages. They’re all bad!!

  8. Kate October 5, 2010 at 12:39 pm #

    Or let me put it this way:

    Is ‘herbal water’ needed? Is this something we can’t live without? Will it save lives? NO.

    When faced with the question of whether or not to bring something to market, we should ask ourselves whether or not doing so will do more environmental harm than the good that will come from the product. Clearly this will make money. But at what cost?

    And this does not even get into the question of where the water is coming from. As the film Tapped detailed, bottled water is coming from somewhere and it’s generally public water supplies that are already strained.

    I’m pretty disappointed in Rodale for promoting this stuff. And it comes on the same day as the newsletter that talked about 7 unexpected children health threats in the home. Number 6? Plastic!!!

  9. Anna October 5, 2010 at 1:03 pm #

    I love Ayala’s Herbal water. It tastes so much better than other flavored waters!

  10. Doug October 5, 2010 at 1:06 pm #

    I very much appreciate the blog and opening up the conversation for “Healthy” talk especially when it comes to our children. The more we know, the more we can literally care for our future.
    and LOVE the water. It’s one of my favorite treats!

  11. Samantha October 5, 2010 at 1:31 pm #

    I had the opportunity to meet some of the staff, and taste one or two of the Ayala Waters a couple of years ago in Baltimore at the East Coast Health Expo. They are INCREDIBLE!!!! Such a wonderful alternative to the food color-filled sugar traps that we give our children today. I own a small retail health store, and carry the Ayala Waters (at least most of them, haven’t had the funds to stock all of them yet :[ ), and they are such a huge seller!! I definitely recommend them for anyone who’s looking for a healthier, better alternative. Love Love LOVE Ayala!! 🙂

  12. Donata October 5, 2010 at 1:36 pm #

    I appreciate the valor of Kate. I understand where you’re coming from and have spent a lot of time thinking on the marketplace and what’s available and how to educate consumers to go back to a homemade, home packaged, pure and natural state. It’s not going to be easy. I fail daily. And in fact, if you read my latest note on a blog her post you’ll see that I have succumbed to many a packaged item in the hopes that my son’s nutritional needs are met throughout the school day. I do not recall in this piece where it noted that the drinks would be in plastic…but I think to start small, to offer alternative products to the masses that challenge the popular marketplace offerings is a step in the right direction. Consumers want quick and easy, that’s why they’re consumers. I”m babbling, i’ll stop

  13. Kate October 5, 2010 at 1:40 pm #

    The drinks are in plastic. I emailed Dr. Ayala to confirm. She told me that they are 100% recyclable, which means they’re downcyclable. Unfortunately, 90% of the plastic bottles used in the US are not downcycled, but rather thrown out.

    I think we need to redefine what is ‘good’ and ‘healthy’ for our kids. Plastic is not good for our kids now and it certainly isn’t good for their future, let alone for our kids’ kids. We have to stop thinking about what we want right now and begin to look at the bigger picture. This water may taste good, but it’s just as much of a problem for our environment (and therefore our health) as any other beverage that comes packaged in plastic.

    If we aren’t going to try to change, who will? I’m disappointed in Rodale for promoting something in plastic. And on the same day their newsletter warns about the dangers of plastic to kids!!

  14. Dr. Ayala October 5, 2010 at 1:41 pm #

    Kate, thanks for taking the time to comment.

    I share your environmental concern, and we’re constantly looking at all packaging options. I assure you that once most people start drinking tap water I will definitely stop making Herbal Water, but for now, I think we need healthier options to replace sugar laden and junk filled drinks, and people are definitely seeking flavorful drinks besides tap water.

    We’re now making Herbal Water (sparkling) in glass bottles, but I’m not sure glass is a better option than plastic. We have not ruled out the use of glass and are considering future changes. However, for the time being, plastic is the most viable option, for many reasons.

    Plastic weighs less than glass: it’s easier and more energy efficient to transport and carry. Plastic does not shatter or pose a hazard like glass. Plastic is more cost-effective option.
    Plastic is lightweight and ideally suited for people on the go. Most importantly: Our plastic is 100% recyclable and is a PET-1—completely safe.

    Herbal Water is developing a range of initiatives that benefit the environment and lessen our environmental impact. These include:

    • Using sustainably harvested paper products for ALL our printed materials.

    • A vigorous recycling program.

    • We aim to manufacture in proximity to distribution and make the product in the most energy economic way.

    • Our ingredients are organic, eliminating harmful chemicals from soil and the water that drains that soil.

  15. Kate October 5, 2010 at 1:57 pm #

    I’m not sure glass is a better option either, but there is no way to justify using plastic. Perhaps NOT promoting water, “healthy” or not, if it has to be packaged in plastic is the best option. We have to start acting as if our environment is more important than our profits. If all of us who are supposedly conscientious can’t make a change, who will? We are dooming our children and our children’s children to an earth riddled with environmental toxins and problems. We don’t need another plastic bottled water, regardless of whether or not it has artificial colorings, organic ingredients, etc.

    I understand that you’d like to make money — who doesn’t? — but choosing to do so by adding to the plastic trash is not the ethical way to do so.

  16. Kate October 5, 2010 at 2:01 pm #

    How about this:

    Instead of peddling bottled water that comes in plastic, write a recipe book that tell readers how to make their own healthful, organic, ‘herbal water’ at home with their tap water. You still make your money, but we’re spared your product’s plastic trash (and all of the environmental degradation that goes with the production of that plastic as well as the disposal of it).

  17. Kate October 5, 2010 at 2:10 pm #

    Just in case you haven’t see it yet:


  18. Riley October 5, 2010 at 3:45 pm #

    Plastic is good, plastic is bad. A thoughtful person should know it _depends_ on what kind of plastic, how it is used, and how it is disposed of.

    Personally I think some plastics are a suitable use for non-renewable petroleum. Beats the heck out of burning it. Polyethylene and polypropylene do not “leach out” toxic components, for instance. Polycarbonate does. PET might be a problem, but not nearly on the scale of BPA in polycarbonate. That said, I have no problem wearing my safe, light, polycarbonate eye glasses. I don’t store food in it. I don’t drink from it, I think its use should be properly regulated–NOT prohibited.

  19. Riley October 5, 2010 at 4:04 pm #

    Should have mentioned this article was interesting. It’s of concern, and it’s a shame food coloring here doesn’t have the scrutiny and regulatory attention it should, and gets in Europe. Some of these chemicals have high biological activity and should not be ingested in any way.

  20. katie m October 5, 2010 at 4:10 pm #

    Great post!

  21. Laura Ann Adams October 5, 2010 at 4:32 pm #

    Looks like the US is behind Europe again. We need to be more proactive in our health safety.

  22. Brian Morales October 5, 2010 at 5:11 pm #

    Very interesting post. And love Ayala Herbal Water… especially the vanilla lemongrass mint…

  23. Kate October 5, 2010 at 6:38 pm #

    Yeah. We’re doomed. If people who visit blogs like this defend the use of plastic for bottled water (and yes, this is just another bottled water, flavored or not), we should not be surprised that so many less conscientious people are as well. We complain about politicians not doing enough for climate change and other environmental problems, but guess what? WE are the problem. I can’t believe you are all defending yet another bottled water. As if we need another.

    By all means, ban artificial food coloring. Ban it first from your own diet and your own consumption and work to have it banned from your community. But don’t be blinded by the idea that this article is anything more than an advertisement for bottled water that the world — yes the WORLD! — does not need.

  24. Kate October 5, 2010 at 6:41 pm #

    And @Riley, do you really think there is no burning of petroleum in the making, transporting, disposing and/or downcycling of these plastic bottles? Clearly there is.

  25. Tracy Little October 5, 2010 at 7:04 pm #

    I have two kids, with one on the way, and food coloring is one of the many things I have to watch for when reading labels. I want my kids to have the best start possible, and also develop healthy eating habits now that will make healthy eating choices later in life natural. It’s a lot of work now, but as our generation fights to make certain additives obsolete, we save the next generation from their effects 🙂 Thanks for this article!

  26. Riley October 5, 2010 at 7:05 pm #


    Burning petroleum, for whatever purpose, should be curtailed. Your point, though, is meaningless. Petroleum plastics will use common, commercial, standard practice methods of mining, production, and distribution. What we have to do is move those common, commercial, standard practices away from burning petroleum to, say, burning solar produced algae-based oils and fuels. Or fuel cells. Or whatever doesn’t pollute and poison.

    There are a lot of things that aren’t right in the use of plastics right now. And there are plastics, which, of course, can be derived from organically produced oil and chemicals (_very_ energy intensive), or petroleum derived oil and chemicals, that should be severely limited in use and production. And others, like LDPE, that are hands down perfectly safe for drinking use.

  27. Riley October 5, 2010 at 7:09 pm #

    One should note that LDPE is not commonly used, unfortunately, in disposable plastic bottles. It’s PET, which can leach, under certain conditions, terephthalate compounds.

  28. maria (farm country kitchen) October 5, 2010 at 7:22 pm #

    Here’s what I know…sometime when I am traveling (like today) or on the road or eating out I get really really thirsty. Then, I don’t want to buy a sugary drink. I want water. Good. Clean. Cold. Water. If I can only get it in plastic, then plastic it is. I don’t care for lukewarm tap water (which is what those stainless steel containers turn into in a matter of minutes or hours). I am really angry at people like my friend Mr. Al Gore for blaming bottled water on our environmental degradation…HELLO, what about soda?! In fact, all those little bubbles in soda are carbon dioxide…yes, THAT co2 that leads to global warming/climate chaos.

    I applaud Ayala for making deliciously clean tasting choices for while I am out and about and on the road. Yes, I wish it was in glass. And yes, when I am at home I can drink my own cold tap water flavored or unflavored. But let’s blame the real culprits — soda. Pepsi especially, because sometimes a girl just needs a coke. On ice. From a glass bottle.

  29. Barb Donahue October 5, 2010 at 9:09 pm #

    From the time my kids were little (they are now 22 and 18) and wanted all those colorful snacks I would reply “Yes! Only if you can pronounce all the words correctly and there are no artificial colorings or MSG in them”. Needless to say, there were few snacks bought and a lot of reading going on!

  30. Marcy Wentworth October 5, 2010 at 9:33 pm #

    You are right on with the dangers of food coloring. When my oldest son was 2, I would wake up to the sound of him running between the bedroom and the living room as he took out out toys to play with. He spent the entire day in high gear, never slowing down. I was at my wits end with him nothing seemed to work. Then I found the book, “why can’t my child behave?” by Jane Hersey. That taught me about the relationship between food coloring and preservatives (BHT, BHA, and TBHQ) and behavior. I tried a trial diet change and was rewarded with an immediate change in behavior. Diet change usually takes much longer to see behavior changes. Anyone who wants to know more should check out the feingold association at http://www.feingold.org

  31. Robin Warner October 5, 2010 at 10:00 pm #

    Very interesting. Thank you. I would love to enter the sweepstakes to win some Hebal Water. I found it a couple weeks ago and love it!

  32. Nina Kim October 5, 2010 at 10:12 pm #

    I am the mother of a 17 month old and have become more vigilant than ever about artificial anything in foods and drinks especially for him but also for myself as I have been breastfeeding. I think that many people, especially in the US are under-educated about the effects of ingredients commonly found in the processed foods that are so readily available to us. I think that it is a sad fact that for all of our “progress” the big companies like to make money on the ignorance of our public. I think that it is truly amazing when products such as Ayala’s Herbal Water appear on the market. I find the waters truly refreshing with no negative after effects or artificial ingredients. Why can’t more companies follow such a path?
    Yes!!! Please enter me in the sweepstakes! The more Herbal Water the better! 🙂

  33. Nina Kim October 5, 2010 at 10:28 pm #

    I have to agree with maria. it’s not the idea that it’s just bottled water. It should be viewed as a viable alternative to sodas and other soft drinks. Sometimes you just want something that’s not just plain water. I do carry a ss reusable water bottle as does my child. But sometimes u want something with flavor. If I could have a direct tap into the Herbal Water plant I would. until then…

  34. Barbara October 5, 2010 at 11:37 pm #

    I have eliminated food coloring from my life and my families for many years now. I read labels and refuse to buy those with artificial colors. But many do not take or have the time to read labels, so a warning blip on artificially colored products would be educational. Help inform those who otherwise do not even *think* of the possibility of harm. Many believe if they are allowed to make and sell it, it must be safe. I have the discussion with someone at least once a week about there being no regulations regarding many of the things put into our food and body products. So Yes! We should educate the public with a warning label. Maybe then they will start questioning other potentially bad things in their lives and we can move toward banning harmful things instead of just accepting them as part of life.

  35. Ann L. Detjen October 6, 2010 at 1:17 am #

    Interesting discussion. Whole Foods has orange creme soda in a can that’s delicious, although sugary, and it’s clear like water. That was a wonderful surprise to me. Once in a while I treat myself to it. I’m surprised that tap water is being used in this discussion as a good thing. I checked my local water supply on http://www.ewg.org, which I learned about from rodale.com, and discovered that there are numerous horrible chemicals in my tap water. I read a book recently about the water topic, written by an M.D., and he suggested drinking only spring water for your water needs, so that’s what we do now. We chose Highbridge Spring Water because it was made and distributed very close to where we live so as to keep the carbon footprint small. I have yet to find a flavored water that tastes good, but I haven’t heard of Dr. Ayala’s water, so please enter me in the contest. Thanks.

  36. Kate October 6, 2010 at 2:01 pm #

    Sure. Let’s have another flavored water available. How about just saying no? To the production of another bottled water and to the consumption of it? I can’t believe how easy it is for everyone to excuse plastic bottles — regardless of whether they house soda, carbonated Ayala water (is her carbonation better than Pepsi’s?), or ‘herbal’ still water. Plastic is a problem. Face it. Another major problem is the bottling of water for profit. It is sold back to us at a huge mark up. Where is it coming from? Perhaps not your aquifer or your public water system. But I guarantee it is coming from someone else’s.

    Sure, the plastic is no big deal. Because you don’t have to live near where it is produced, let alone where the oil to make it is extracted, or where the bottle goes to be ‘downcycled’ or trashed. Do you live in India? That’s where Annie Leonard traced her plastic bottle ‘recycled’ in California. Some of it actually was downcycled into another product that will eventually be tossed (because plastic cannot be continuously and infinitely recycled). Some of it was dumped in a big, huge pile in an Indian village.

    So there you have it. You can have your ‘herbal’ water. You can have your Coke. You can have everything you want. But don’t fool yourself or any of us that your choices don’t have consequences.

  37. rfaulseit October 6, 2010 at 2:30 pm #

    “But sometimes u want something with flavor.”

    Sometimes some people just want a soda too, sometimes people want to drive gas guzzlers and “drill baby drill”. Others are more conscientious and consider the consequences of their addiction to consumption. Clearly no one on this blog is introspective or seems to really care about the environment. Al Gore was right!

    This is complete and utter hypocrisy. The makers of this organic water bottled in an inorganic and toxic substance don’t appear to be any different than the makers of Coca Cola or Pepsi. They don’t want to change their practices because it would be more expensive and cut into profits. The consumers don’t want to be bothered with the inconvenience of having a “luke warm” drink.

    These are the same reasons we have to contend with corporations using toxic dyes in their products. We are too selfish, greedy, and lazy to change or even curb our habits.

    “I will happily pollute the world if it means I can enjoy a nice refreshing drink of flavored water from time to time.”

    What a joke!

  38. kay butler October 6, 2010 at 3:10 pm #

    Thanks for the great article on artificial food colorings–i would like to be entered in the Herbal Water Sweepstakes….

  39. Juli October 6, 2010 at 4:49 pm #

    No mater what you put inside the single use plastic bottle, you are still selling a single use plastic bottle. Plastic pollutes, poisons, and kills at every stage of its life- creation, transport, use, disposal- whether it is recycled or not.

    I find it hard to stomach a debate about food coloring while pushing a ‘healthier’ alternative in single use plastic.

  40. autumn October 6, 2010 at 7:37 pm #

    no food coloring. no plastic.
    ice, lemon slices and brita filtered water in a Klean Kanteen…
    maybe a little stevia. take it everywhere.
    how simple and cheap is that?

  41. Beth Terry @ Fake Plastic Fish October 6, 2010 at 8:52 pm #

    Hi Maria and everyone. I guess you know what I will say about the plastic bottle since Maria kindly interviewed me here in August about living with less plastic. But I just want to add a few points that Kate hasn’t. (Kate emailed me this discussion, by the way.)

    First, double-walled insulated water bottles keep tap water nice and cold. I’m not shilling for any brands, but off the bat I do know that Klean Kanteen sells one. I love Kate’s idea of selling a recipe book and teaching people how to make their own delicious herbal water using tap water and ingredients from their home kitchens.

    I’ve been living without any bottled water for the last 3 years, and I too travel a lot. I have no problem carrying my stainless steel travel mug with me and filling up wherever I happen to be. You can even take reusable bottles/mugs empty through airport security and fill up at the drinking fountain on the other side. In fact, that’s what musician Jackson Browne does.

    Drinking tap water is just a matter of changing habits. When I was growing up in the 70’s, bottled water didn’t exist. And we weren’t served soda on a regular basis either. We drank from water fountains, and water fountains were plentiful. Sadly, the promotion of bottled water has led to the neglect of our public water infrastructure, and these days, you find more broken fountains than in tact ones.

    My concerns about bottled water are many. I am concerned about the plastic, as Kate mentioned. And to Riley and Dr. Ayala, I have to say that as far as we know, there is no safe plastic. Yes, even “safe” polypropylene has been found to leach chemicals. I can point you to an Alberta, Canada study if you’d like.

    The fact is that ALL plastics contain additives that effect the color, strength, flexibility, and even antibacterial properties of the material (yes, there’s even Triclosan added to some plastic food containers!) and consumers have no way of knowing what chemicals have been added to plastic bottles and containers because manufacturers are not required to disclose the ingredients in plastic like they must in organic food. To me, organic food in plastic packaging is ironic and sad.

    As far as the safety of bottled water, it’s important to realize that bottled water is not as strongly regulated as tap water. Tap water is regulated by the EPA, which requires municipalities to do regular testing and to disclose the results of those tests to citizens. Bottled water is regulated by the FDA, which does not require disclosure of test results. And it does not require testing of water after it has been stored in the bottle for a long period of time.

    What’s more, the plants that make the plastic are highly polluting. Gulf communities where plastics and other petrochemicals are made have much higher incidents of certain cancers and lung ailments that elsewhere in the country.

    And speaking of polluting communities, did you know that most plastic “recycling” is shipped to China and other Asian countries where workers are not even protected to the extent that they are here in the U.S.? I can show you a heartbreaking video showing a community that has become a toxic waste dump for Western plastic recycling.

    But if plastic is recovered and recycled into polar fleece or carpet, it’s still downcycling, as Kate mentioned, because virgin plastic is required to make new plastic bottles.

    I encourage everyone reading this discussion to check out the film “Tapped” for more information about bottled water and to contact the Plastic Pollution Coalition for more information about the problems with plastic, especially single-use disposable plastic.

    To sum up, I think that using plastic for single-use disposable packaging is a bad idea. And I think that bottling water is a bad idea because it undermines our public water infrastructure. But I also think that herbal water sounds great, and I’d like to learn how to make it for myself at home.


    Beth Terry
    Fake Plastic Fish

  42. laura nealy October 6, 2010 at 10:22 pm #

    GREAT article! All natural is great for kids AND adults! It will make a difference in the way you feel all day. : )

  43. Reanne Burnett October 6, 2010 at 10:55 pm #

    What a wonderful post. Thank you for the food for thought and the opportunity to win this giveaway.

  44. karen hanrahan October 6, 2010 at 11:12 pm #

    boy oh boy – i’ve been supporting and advocating the alternative food movement for some time. Herbal waters is about as gimmicky as cold tablets with echinacea in them. Make your own herbal water for goodness sake!! I love throwing handfuls of green goodness from my garden into my tap water, and have done this for sometime. Why anyone would spend money for it, let alone buy it in plastic is completely beyond me. Try making ice cubes, with perfectly splayed leaves of lemon balm or mint, not only is it beautiful in your glass, it makes the cube taste interesting. Kids love trying to indentify the leaf

    Perhaps this link might be of interest to your readership:

  45. Anna October 6, 2010 at 11:54 pm #

    I have read and loved Organic Gardening for years and even visited Rodale Gardens. So, I was surprised to see that Dr A’s product was featured on your website.

    First, I have to echo both Kate’s and Beth’s sentiments regarding plastic. PET leaches. Like Beth, I can point out a Canada study as well as an Arizona study talking about how PET leaches. So, saying anything is healthy wrapped in a plastic water bottle is just not right. How does antimony which is contained in plastic water bottle affect children? Especially when the bottle is left in a hot car or truck before it is delivered to a store?

    As both Beth and Kate stated, plastic is an environmental nightmare. Most people don’t recycle, and if they do, energy is expended to up- cycled the product into a new product since it can not be reused again as a bottle. And how about the cap? As far as I know only Aveeda takes them back. Can yours be recycled?

    And worse doesn’t it bother anyone that the product is derived from petroleum? Not to renewable…

    Secondly, why do we need another bottled water product? How do we know what is in your bottle water? Did you have your water third party tested with its findings on your site similar to what you can request from your local water company? The EWG did a study and found that most bottle waters had more impurities in it then tap water. We are just so brain washed to believe that bottle water is better.

    I am with Kate. How about a book? Or at the very least bottle the product in glass.

  46. jessica anger October 7, 2010 at 12:32 am #

    i would love to be entered in the contest

  47. Jennifer Taggart, TheSmartMama October 7, 2010 at 1:21 am #

    I am frustrated by the promotion of yet another flavored water in plastic. PET is considered a safer plastic, but it is still plastic. And, yes, PET plastic leaches. Does it leach at levels which cause health concerns? That we don’t know yet. It consumes a non-renewable resource. It requires heavy chemical processing to make into bottles. It is recyclable, but it is downcycled and most plastic bottles are NOT recycled.

    So why promote a product using it? It is better than artificially flavored and colored sodas, I’ll grant you that – but is the lesser of 2 evils a good thing? Seems to me the simpler solution is a double walled stainless steel bottle. I carry one. My kids use them at school. I take one traveling. I’m still working on my husband, but, well, at least he is getting used to it.

    And I make my own herbal infused waters. I use mint (organically grown in my rooftop suburban garden). I like apple mint or chocolate mint. I also use some of my scented geraniums, lemon verbana, lavender, whatever. It is super easy – just boil the water, put in the herbs, let sit, strain, chill. Ratio is basically 2 cups water to 2 ounces fresh herb (or 1 oz dried). On the go, I just take some snipped herbs and drop them in a ball tea strainer. I’ll use tap water if I can’t get hot water – though most places will let you have free hot water in your traveling mug.

    Why waste our non renewable resources when it is so easy?

    (Also, quick tip, if you chill in a spray bottle, herbal infused water make a great refeshing spritz on the face on a hot day).

  48. Jennifer Taggart, TheSmartMama October 7, 2010 at 1:22 am #

    Oh, please don’t enter me.

  49. Danielle, It Starts With Me October 7, 2010 at 2:18 am #

    I completely agree with all of the comments about this “organic” product being in plastic. I, personally, have not bought bottled water in 3 years…for all of the reasons that Beth Terry, Kate and all previous mentioned AND more. I never leave home without my reusable water bottle because I refuse to support the bottled water industry (including flavored bottled waters). I am an avid beach sweeper…participating in organized clean-ups and going out on my own with my family. Did you know that bottle caps and plastic beverage containers are in the top 10 most littered items worldwide?? (International Coastal Clean-up). Did you also know that marine birds and animals often ingest the plastic caps?? Some (like the albatross) unknowingly feed the plastic caps to their young. (To see for yourself google Chris Jordan: Journey to Midway). And we can all sit here and say, “well, I don’t litter.”. Thing is…people do. And they do it a lot. I’ve never left a bottle (or cap) on the beach…a park…a sidewalk…a parking lot…BUT…what we all have to understand is that “If we take one, they make one.”. (Good ol’ supply and demand). There are many reasons to avoid single use plastics (including bottled water)…I think that it’s important to remember that (for some people) as long as you make the product people will eschew tap water and buy bottled. There lies your responsibility. Teach people how to make their own herbal waters (I’d LOVE a recipe book!), promote reusable water bottles (if people like “cold” water..use a thermos…they’ll keep ice for 10 hours!!)…AND really if we’re talking about health…what’s good for the health of the planet is good for the health of the people (and everything we share it with). Oh yeah…what’s bad for the health of the planet is bad for the health of everyone (and everything) that calls Earth home. Do your research…google is your friend…watch The Story of Bottled Water…in this day and age ignorance is no excuse..become educated…because if we’re not part of the solution…we’re part of the problem.

  50. Linda Anderson October 7, 2010 at 7:34 am #

    I’m sorry to see that you are endorsing water bottled in plastic. Disposable plastic is a huge problem in our environment. It litters our roadways and oceans. It is polluting to manufacture. Huge water corporations have too much influence over our public water resources. This is a convenience product for the affluent. The plastic bottle takes centuries to degrade and is NOT recycled, rather it is down cycled to another type of plastic.

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