Organic water? Don’t believe the hype

By Carrie Johnson Weimar • Published: October 19th, 2011
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

The movement toward eating organically, that is consuming products without pesticides and chemicals, has really been growing over the past decade or so. More consumers are searching out foods produced by farmers who use special techniques to fertilize crops and keep weeds at bay.

But even the trend with the best intentions can go too far. Witness the newest marketing craze: organic water. Yes, several companies are now selling water they claim is 100 percent organic.

To anyone who knows anything about chemistry, this claim is absurd. The definition of organic is something that is derived of living matter. In order for something to be alive, and therefore organic, it must contain carbon. Anyone who remembers elementary school science knows that water is made up of two hydrogen atoms joined to one oxygen atom. No carbon, therefore, not alive — or organic, for that matter. In fact, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the organization that decides which foods can be labeled organic, specifically excludes water.

Perhaps what these savvy marketers are trying to suggest is that their products are chemical-free. The Environmental Working Group has scolded several bottled water companies over the years for selling water tainted by fertilizer and pesticides.

So if you are a safety-conscious shopper, there are a few things to consider when it comes to water. When it comes to water, bottled isn’t necessarily better. One good and relatively cheap option is to buy a carbon filter and filter tap water yourself. Some experts recommend spending a little more for a reverse osmosis filter, which eliminates all impurities.

But most of all, dismiss any bottled water labeled as organic. The claim is not only false, it’s downright silly.