The medical journal, Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, released a study in June, 2011 describing bottled water usage among parents of children from different racial backgrounds. The results found Blacks and Latinos were three times more likely to exclusively give their children bottled water. These racial groups were more likely to believe that bottled water is safer, cleaner, better tasting and more convenient, too.
Nadia Arumugan, a contributing writer for Forbes.com, blames those opinions on the advertising messages focused at these families. In her August 11, 2011 editorial, she offered four strategies water bottle companies are using to attract minority users:
• Latino-specific water bottle brands
• Targeting minority moms
• Celebrity endorsements
• Playing the “purity” game or encouraging consumers to believe bottled water is safer and cleaner for them
Paula Abram Foster, based in Chicago, is an African American who believes bottled water is safer. In a Facebook post requesting comments for this article she wrote, “I’m afraid of tap water and will drink it only if severely parched or dehydrated.” DeShong Perry, an African American TV producer in Indianapolis said on the same post, “it depends on where I live ... I actually like South Side Chicago tap water, and hate the grainy taste of the water the pours out of my faucet in Indianapolis.”
Health and wellness experts, including those in the Environment Protection AgencyThe Water Project, a 501 3c non-profit organization, is trying to raise that point. This group encourages all Americans to stop buying and drinking bottled water because they say it is a luxury and wasteful, as well as hurtful to the environment. On their website they implore Americans to think about the 1 billion people who don’t have the choice to buy bottled water. They state that “the cost of just one case of bottled water could supply a person in Africa with clean, safe drinking water for the next 5 years!”
Despite expert opinions and detailed research, it seems Black and Latino parents still believe bottled water is better. Perhaps with more targeted efforts by groups like The Water Project and government entities like the EPA, this trend can be reversed.
Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine:
The Water Project:
Edited by Jody Smith