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Water Salesmanship?

On Netflix, there is a series titled Scam City, where the host travels to some of the world’s most popular destinations, to expose scams being pulled on tourists. (more on the series here)

The host manages to work up the “ladder” in each of the countries to talk to various individuals, and find out why they are pulling these scams. It’s interesting to hear their explanations.

In Buenos Aires, counterfeit money is a real problem which includes many of the taxi drivers giving fake money as change to the tourists. The reason that everyone gives as to why it’s ok to hand out fake money is described as “not a scam, it’s a contradiction”.

When the host travels to Las Vegas, he sees the various “VIP scams” where individuals sell worthless VIP cards to get into dance clubs. Then, he interviews a card shark to learn tricks of card playing. The card shark describes his scamming as not really cheating. Instead he is actually just a card mechanic. The scamming is not really stealing, it’s just being crafty.

I saw an analogy in this series when I recently saw the lawsuit that was filed against Poland Springs in this article from BDN Maine titled Lawsuit claims Poland Spring a ‘colossal fraud,’ selling groundwater.

A pile of Poland Spring water bottles.
Pile of Poland Spring

According to the article, a group of bottled water drinkers has brought a class action lawsuit against Poland Spring, alleging that the Maine business has long deceived consumers by mislabeling common groundwater. The lawsuit was filed in a Connecticut Federal Court and claims that Nestle Waters North America Inc. has committed a “colossal fraud perpetrated against American consumers.”

The lawsuit claims that the company is simply selling groundwater which cannot be called spring water and that its purification methods disqualify the water as meeting federal regulations as a spring water.

The company spokesman has responded that “the claims are without merit” and that “Poland Spring is 100% spring water”. The article is filled with allegations that payoffs have been basically made, which caused the Maine Drinking Water Program to approve many of the water permits to the company. The lawsuit claims that “not one drop” of Poland Spring bottled water is from a spring.

This always begs the questions, “Is bottled water safer than tap water?” and “Is tap water safe?”. To answer that question, I am attaching an article from that is titled 21 Facts About Bottled Water, The Environment, & Human Health.

A quick summary of the article deals with the harms of all the plastic of bottled water. It goes on to recite that some brands are basically bottling tap water. And, we know that some tap water is safe and some is not. Which means that some bottled waters are safe… and some are not. Of course, none of the bottled water companies market their product as simply fresh tap water, because no one would buy it.

So what is the best bottled water to buy? Well, I am attaching one survey from bestreview.guides (here) that lists Fiji Spring water as #1. Curiously, Poland Spring Brand is #9.

This article (here) from lists Resource Spring Water as #1 and Fiji Spring Water as #2.

I guess we should be reminded that the brand of Evian is really naive spelled backwards. Right? What are they saying to us?

I still don’t feel safe drinking out of the tap. I miss those days on the farm when it all felt safe and real!

And for pic o’ day, the totality of this just makes me laugh! Is the dog left-handed? Just wondering.


Big Gulp of Metal

Hexavalent chromium! Does that make your eyes gloss over. Not really “click bait” to make you excited to read.

I’m not sure that this story will make you tell the waitress that you would like to order two chickens and a coke, but it may cause you to say “no thanks” when she asks you if you would like a glass of water.

A report released by an environmental research group found concentrations of hexavalent chromium in the public drinking water systems of 200 million Americans. This includes the utilities that serve Richmond, Chesterfield, Hanover and Henrico. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Hexavalent chromium found in the water is a metal that is known to cause cancer in laboratory rats and mice. The metal is known to be associated with industrial pollution from  such things as steelmaking, chrome-plating, coal ash, paints, inks and plastics.

It is considered a carcinogen when inhaled. This is also the chemical made famous in the movie Erin Brockovich, because as a paralegal she worked on these kinds of claims. You just don’t expect to see it in “our water”.

It’s a fair question to ask why there isn’t more concern over the drinking water. The government (Environmental Protection Agency) tells us not to worry. This contaminant is considered well below the federal Environmental Protection Agency’s maximum contaminant level for total chromium of 100 parts per billion.

That’s just some defined general amount. That’s code for “we’re fine”. Here’s the kicker: For drinking water, the EPA has no maximum contaminant level for this metal.  Does that make you feel better? Me… not so much. It makes me think twice about ordering a glass of water at a restaurant.

As far as I know, unless you are a superhero or the Tin Man, I can’t figure out any good to the concept of having a glass of metal with my meal.

And for pic o’ day:


Would You Like a Bottled Water?

In December 2014, six people were charged with allowing  seven-thousand gallons of a toxic chemical to leak into the Elk River in West Virginia. (CNN) Over a year after the leak, it was still determined that the drinking water of 300,000 West Virginia residents was still contaminated.

The chemical is commonly used in the coal mining industry for cleaning and was kept in tanks that were shown to be cracked and not maintained. The indictment for these individuals alleged that money was the reason that the tanks were not serviced. Elk River primarily provides drinking water for the city of Charleston.

That leads me to why I had no interest in having an ice cold glass of  water when I was just in Charleston. I was not swayed despite the assurances that the water is fine. I simply said, “How about a bottled water?”.

Because of my Charleston work, a news story grabbed my attention from the Detroit Free Press , that reports on a lawsuit recently filed by several Flint, Michigan families.

Four families claim that 14 government officials  deliberately deprived Flint residents of clean water in an effort to save money. The plaintiffs claim that the water has caused health issues including skin lesions, hair loss, “brain fog” , convulsions, hypertension, autoimmune disorders, and high levels of lead and copper in their bloodstreams.

In many states, it is difficult to file a civil suit against a city or town because laws protect them under governmental immunity. In Michigan, if gross negligence is shown there is a potential right to bring a lawsuit. That legal standard is partially defined as “shocks the conscience and was deliberately indifferent … and so reckless as to demonstrate a substantial lack of concern for whether an injury results”.

When I was a kid, my grandparents kept a tin cup at the sink. Anyone who was thirsty, could grab that cup and fill it up right at the sink. Thirst quenched! I miss those days!

And more health in pic o’ day:


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