Aug 14

Minority Families Targeted By Bottled Water Marketers

Published By Nadia Arumugam Aug. 11 2011 — Forbes 

Why Minorities Reach for Bottled Water Over Tap & How Marketers Persuade Them

A large pile of half-pint Poland Spring bottles

Image via Wikipedia

Research has shown that minorities consume bottled water more often than white Americans, and spend a greater proportion of their income (about 1%, compared to the 0.4% white Americans dole out) on this superfluous commodity every year. A recentstudy in the Archives of Pediatric Adolescent Medicine confirmed this trend – finding that Latino and black parents were three times more likely to sate their children’s thirst with bottled water, compared with white parents. What sets this study apart from previous ones, is that it pinpoints the reasons why minority parents perceive bottled water to be superior, and thus a necessary expense. They genuinely believe it to be cleaner, safer, healthier, and more convenient than the stuff that pours out of the spigot (virtually) gratis. Health experts and tap water advocates heartily disagree and will produce reams of data revealing tap water  to be pure, healthful, and entirely sanitary. In fact, authors of the recent study note that the reliance on bottled water may contribute to dental issues in minority children who don’t benefit from the fluoride purposefully added to tap water to maintain the nation’s oral health. What’s more, a National Resources Defense Council investigation discovered the 17% of bottled waters contained unsafe levels of bacterial loads, and 22% were contaminated with chemicals, including arsenic.

Still, with 10 billion gallons of bottled water imbibed annually in the US, bottled water brands have been actively courting the minority market.

Here are four strategies they’ve used to convince black and Latino consumers to swig from their bottles. 

Latino-specific Bottled Water Brands
What better way to attract the attention of a minority group than by putting out a product that is aimed directly, if not almost exclusively, at them. Paul Kurkulis founder and president of Las Oleadas, an Aspen-based company, has been hawking a brand of mineral -enhanced bottled water called Oleada in Colorado, Nevada, Arizona and California, with his focus being the Hispanic market. Loosely translated Las Oleadas means “the momentum that drives a wave.” The text on the labels were originally only in Spanish, but they now also feature English, since Kurkulis found he had inadvertently garnered some non-Spanish speaking customers. In 2006, Ravinia Partners, launched AguaBlue. After years of research, they put out the bottled water that sought to pull at the emotional heartstrings of the Latino consumer. The striking, full color label features the flags of Latin American countries, and bilingual production information. Perusing the water aisle, the Guatamalan, Columbian or Puerto Rican shopper spots his or her flag, and swells with pride and warm feelings. Naturally, this makes him or him opt for a bottle of AguaBlue over another generic brand.

Targeting Minority Moms
Over the last two years ago, Coca Cola and Nestle have both rolled out campaigns aimed at minority moms. According to Miriam Muley,  author of The 85% Niche: The Power of Women of All Colors—Latina, Black and Asian, 46% of all mothers in the US are Latina, Black or Asian. In April, 2009, Dasani enlisted R&B star Chilli from the Grammy award winning group TLC to deliver its message of health and hydration to African American mothers in a special Mother’s Day program. Via radio, print and in-store advertising, black women were sold on how drinking Dasani was just one step to a happier, more beautiful, more fulfilled, and more balanced them. By visiting the Dasani website, moms could see the latest fashion trends, elicit health and beauty tips and enter contests to win spa-cations. “Among African American consumers, African American moms are the gatekeeper to the household,” said Yolanda White, assistant vice president, African American Marketing, Coca-Cola North America, in an Ad Age interview. “We over-index in single-family households, and so reaching Mom is critical.”

Summer and fall of 2010 saw Nestle’s Pure Life water campaign, “Better Habits for a Better Life”, played out with a vengeance. This time it was Latina moms who were being canvassed, and this time, the campaign wasn’t so much about their health and well-being, but rather those of their families. At the heart of the campaign was a challenge titled “La Promesa Nestle Pure Life,” and it basically called upon mothers to pledge to replace one sugary drink in their family’s day with water, or rather, a bottle of Pure Life. Once her pledge was registered, mom was in the running to win over $20,000 worth of prizes, and a trip for four to Miami.

Celebrity Endorsements
Brands have long since recognized the value of celebrity endorsements to increase sales. But, it wasn’t until the mid-90′s that advertisers really started to take the African American market seriously and realized the profits to be cultivated if they started to use black stars. Remember what Tina Turner  did for Hanes hosiery? Well, the bottled water industry certainly does. Coca Cola’s enlisting of TLC’s Chili, a 38 year-old-old actress, singer, and single mother to promote Dasani’s Mother’s Day campaign, was perfectly executed. The star embraces independence, strong family principles and a commitment to health, and, well, looking good – values integral to today’s black mother. “Chilli embodies the struggles and the balance we see in our target audience,” said Yolanda White of Coca Cola, as reported in Adweek.com. “She gives reassurance to moms that you can still be a great mom, take care of yourself and look beautiful.” Nestle had their own superstar mom in Hispanic TV host Cristina Saralegui to serve as the brand’s spokeswoman, as well as to appear in TV commercials. In one such ad, a mother is seen in a supermarket deciding between a sugary drink or water as she runs into Saralegui, who conveys to her the importance of water. Between 2008 and 2010 when Hispanic commericals featuring Salalegui were aired on TV, the awareness of Pure Life water, and purchase intent levels quadrupled among Hispanics.

All this isn’t to suggest that the boys are neglected. Black comedian and actor Daman Wayans, once endorsed PepsiCo’s Aquafina in the early noughties, now the brand is endorsed by Domenican football player Luis Castillo of the San Diego Chargers.

 

 

 


Jul 23

Multipure 5 Stage Reverse Osmosis – The Most Technically Advanced RO System Available

Water is one of your body’s basic needs. Water is a component of all the fluids in your body, including blood, digestive juices, lymph, sweat and urine. It also supports chemical reactions that regulate life processes.

But water could also quickly turn on you. The United Nations reported on World Water Day that contaminated and polluted water kills more people than violence or war, and that 60 percent of potable water supplies are lost because of leaky pipes and poorly-maintained sewage networks.

As a result, about 2.2 million people succumb to diarrhea, mostly from dirty water. Water-borne diseases have claimed the lives of some 1.8 million children aged under five, or one infant every 20 seconds.

While these deaths come mostly from developing countries, this doesn’t mean that Americans don’t have to worry about the quality of drinking water, Dr. Joseph Mercola warns. You simply can’t tell if your water is free from tap water contaminants just by how it looks, smells or tastes.

Here are 5 dangerous contaminants that may be lurking in your drinking water:

1.    Chlorine and Disinfection Byproducts 
Drinking water disinfected by chlorine in pregnancy can increase the child’s risk of heart problems, cleft palate or major brain defects. On the other hand, disinfection byproducts (DBPs) are formed when the disinfectants used to purify your water, like chlorine, react with natural organic matter like decaying vegetation in water, Dr. Mercola explains. DBPs are more than 10,000 times more toxic than chlorine, making them the worst type of contaminants.
Chlorine has been linked to health problems associated with drinking water but new studies suggest that DBPs, not chlorine, are responsible for almost all of the toxic effects of chlorinated water. The two most common disinfectant byproducts formed when chlorine is used are trihalomethanes and haloacetic acids. Trihalomethanes have been shown to cause cancer in laboratory animals and have also been associated with spontaneous abortion, stillbirths and congenital malformations.

2.    Drugs and Hormonally Active Chemicals
A comprehensive survey of drinking water in the U.S. reveals that your drinking water may also contain a number of pharmaceuticals and hormonally active chemicals, Mercola points out. The drugs that you take, or those that are given to livestock, do not necessarily become inert in your body. Some of the active components that are not absorbed are deposited into sewage treatment centers that are not always testing for, or removing, pharmaceuticals. Also, unused prescription drugs are sometimes flushed down the toilet or deposited into landfills by individuals, hospitals and pharmaceutical companies, where they ultimately end up back in the environment.
Among the drugs and chemicals found in tap water were atenolol, a beta-blocker used to treat cardiovascular disease; atrazine, a herbicide banned in Europe linked to the decline of fish population and in changes in animal behavior; meprobamate, a psychiatric tranquilizer; phenytoin, an anticonvulsant, and sulfamethoxazole, an antibiotic.

3.    Fluoride 
Fluoride is one of the toxic chemicals still at large in America. It was actually one of the toxic components evaluated for use in the production of the atomic bomb during World War II. For Dr. Mercola, water fluoridation is absurd and unethical because studies show that this chemical can damage your brain, and your immune, gastrointestinal system and skeletal systems. Fluoride is so dangerous that a family-sized tube of fluoridated toothpaste is toxic enough to kill a 25-lb child.

4.     Heavy Metals 
Heavy metals such as arsenic, cadmium, chromium, lead, mercury and nickel can seep into your water, are inorganic, have relatively high densities and are toxic even at low concentrations.Heavy metal poisoning can cause blood disorders, and brain, kidney and nerve damage. These heavy metals usually accumulate in your water supply through human activity, such as industrial and consumer waste. In homes built before the late 1980s, copper and lead can leach into passing water from water pipes and soldered joints on the way to your tap.

5.    Rocket Fuel
Perchlorate, a component of rocket fuel which is also used in fireworks and road flares, was found in the water supplies of 36 states. This chemical can inhibit the production of thyroid hormones, which are essential for pre- and postnatal development. The Environmental Protection Agency has also found that perchlorate exposure led to the development of thyroid tumors in rats.

Because of the dangers of tap water contaminants, water filtration systems are no longer considered a luxury; they’re health products. For most people a countertop water filter that effectively removes chlorine and inorganic and organic contaminants is the best, most practical and cost-effective choice. A reverse osmosis filter helps remove virtually all tap water contaminants, including fluoride and a muriad of other cancer causing contaminants.

The best water filter that we have found that virtually removes these contaminants is the Multipure MP750Plus RO unit.

The Multipure MP750PlusRO Unit is easy to install and simple to operate. It uses no electricity and the impurities removed through the reverse osmosis process are flushed down the drain. The pre-filter component provides 5 micron filtration to remove large particulate matter and extend the life of the reverse osmosis membrane. The reverse osmosis component reduces the level of Total Dissolved Solids (TDS), rust, dirt scale, and organic tastes and odors. The processed water is conveniently stored in a 3 gallon pressurized tank which is small enough to fit neatly under your sink. The post unit, is a solid carbon block filter that is considered to be the most effective method for reducing a wide range of contaminants of health concern, which may be present in the water.  The carbon is compacted into a dense structure, causing every molecule of water to be forced through microscopic pores of carbon, effectively reducing pollutants.  The Solid Carbon Block Filter is a replaceable cartridge designed so that it can be easily changed.  Some additional advantages of the Solid Carbon Block Filter are that it does not waste water, there is no electricity required, it does not remove essential trace minerals that are beneficial to good health, it does not add salt or silver to the water; and it provides fresh, delicious, healthy drinking water.

Multipure’s MP750PlusRO Unit includes pre-filter, RO membrane, and Multi-Pure’s Model MP750SB as a post-filter, giving you the highest quality water possible.

For more info on Multipure’s water filtration systems, visit our website at  www.indianawaterfilters.org

Jul 07

Feeling Sick? It May Be Your Tap Water

Public water supplies in 42 U.S. states are contaminated with 141 unregulated chemicals for which the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has never established safety standards, according to an investigation by the Environmental Working Group (EWG).

Tainted Tap Water Used by Millions of Americans
Another 119 regulated chemicals—a total of 260 contaminants altogether—were found by the environmental group in a two-and-a-half-year analysis of more than 22 million tap water quality tests. The tests, which are required under the federal Safe Drinking Water Act, were conducted at nearly 40,000 utilities that supply water to 231 million people. If you are feeling ill, for no apparent reason, it really could be the water in your own home! Below are listed some contaminants found in your public water supply that truly could be making you sick!

Water Disinfection Byproducts

  • What are water disinfection byproducts?
    The term refers not to one chemical compound but a group of chemicals that are formed as byproducts of water treatment. Up to 600 disinfection byproducts have been identified but only a fraction of them — including bromate, total trihalomethanes (chloroform, bromodichloromethane, dibromochloromethane and bromoform) and haloacetic acids (dichloroacetic acid, trichloroacetic acid, monochloroacetic acid, monobromoacetic acid and dibromoacetic acid) — are monitored by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
  • How often do they occur in drinking water?
    According to the Environmental Working Group’s analysis of about 20 million drinking water tests conducted by water suppliers between 2004 and 2009, disinfection byproducts, many of which are unregulated, were the most common water pollutants found in US water supplies.
  • How did the water pollutants end up in water supplies?
    Chemical byproducts are formed when disinfectants used to treat water, such as chlorine, react with organic pollution washed off from cities, suburbs and agricultural farms.
  • What are the possible health effects of water disinfection byproducts?
    Disinfection byproducts can cause gene mutation, induce birth defects, accelerate the aging process, sets off an inflammatory response in the body, and even induce cancer after long-term exposures.
Associations have also been made between exposure to certain trihalomethanes and haloacetic acids at concentrations above the maximum contaminant level and injury to the liver, kidney, eyes, nerves and the reproductive system.
  • How to remove water disinfection byproducts from water?
    Water filtration systems using activated carbon filters can reduce levels of disinfection byproducts (such as trihalomethanes and haloacetic acids) as can a reverse osmosis unit. Look out for certification, or confirm with the manufacturer before making your purchase.

Nitrate and Nitrite

·What are nitrate and nitrite?
Nitrates and nitrites are common inorganic compounds that are found contaminating drinking water.
·How often do they occur in drinking water?
Nitrate ranks number five in EWG’s list of frequently detected water pollutants. Nitrate and/or nitrite contamination is also not uncommon in drinking water drawn from private wells in the US.
·How did the water pollutants end up in water supplies?
The major sources of nitrates and nitrites in drinking water are excessive use of nitrogen-containing fertilizers (e.g. potassium nitrate and ammonium nitrate) by farmers and homeowners, leaching from septic sewer systems, discharge by chemical, petrochemical and metal-finishing industries, human and animal organic wastes, as well as erosion of natural deposits.
·What are the possible health effects of nitrate and nitrite?
Infants are susceptible to ‘blue baby syndrome’, or methemoglobinemia, after drinking water containing excess nitrate. This potentially dangerous condition occurs when hemoglobins in the red blood cells are converted into methemoglobin in the presence of nitrate and/or nitrite and loses their ability to carry oxygen.
Although older children and adults can tolerate higher levels of nitrates, little is known about the possible long-term effects of nitrate ingestion. Some evidence suggests that nitrate exposure above safety limits may be carcinogenic.
·How to remove nitrate and nitrite from water?
Unfortunately, nitrate and nitrite cannot be removed by carbon-only water filters. Technologies that can reduce the water pollutants effectively include reverse osmosis and atmospheric water generation.
But these technologies have their drawbacks too.
Although reverse osmosis filters are effective in eliminating most disease causing organisms and chemical contaminants, they generally use about three times as much water as they treat. They also remove most of the minerals in the water and may worsen mineral deficiency in those who are already getting insufficient minerals from their diet.
Atmospheric water generator, which extracts water from humid ambient air, is slow, huge (almost the size of a medium refrigerator), and requires an environment with a relatively high humidity to generate water at an acceptable rate. Though you can connect it to a water supply and use it as a regular purifier, its water filtration capabilities may not be sufficient to remove the types of contaminants in your water.

Pharmaceuticals

·What are pharmaceutical contaminants?
Pharmaceutical contaminants refer to a cocktail of dissolved prescription pills, over-the-counter drugs as well as ingredients used for making drugs that are found in drinking water.
According to the 2008-2009 annual report presented by the President’s Cancer Panel, some medications found in water supplies include antidepressants, chemotherapy drugs, medications for hypertension and diabetes, steroid medications, oral contraceptives, non-prescription pain relievers, hormone replacement therapy medications, anti-convulsants, heart medications and antibiotics.
·How often do they occur in drinking water?
A shocking Associated Press report in 2009 revealed that at least 271 million pounds of pharmaceuticals have been poured into US waterways that often provide drinking water.
Unlike nitrate and other regulated contaminants, the presence of pharmaceuticals in drinking water is not monitored by government in most countries and hence, water suppliers are not required to test for them. To make things worse, conventional water treatment plants are also incapable of removing dissolved medications that have entered the water systems.
·How did the water pollutants end up in water supplies?
Dumping of active pharmaceutical ingredients by manufacturers into waterways, as well as improper disposal of medications by consumers into household drains and toilets. Drugs of all types also enter the water supply when they are excreted.
(If you’ve the habit of flushing expired drugs down the toilet, please stop!)
·What are the possible health effects of pharmaceuticals?
Currently, there is no study looking into the long-term effects of drinking water containing low doses of multiple drugs for extended period of time. However, considering that a number of medications are formulated to work at relatively low dosage, their long-term unintended effects cannot be ruled out completely.
· How to remove pharmaceuticals from water?
Water filters that use only basic carbon blocker are unlikely to remove pharmaceutical contaminants. Reverse osmosis system, however, is able to remove dissolved drugs, so is atmospheric water generator which skips contaminated water altogether and generates water from air.

Arsenic

·What is arsenic?
Arsenic is a natural occurring element found in soil, rocks, air, food and water. It’s also used for producing electronic parts, automotive batteries, wood preservatives, glass, pesticides and more.
·How often does it occur in drinking water?
Arsenic contamination of water is a global problem. According to the Wikipedia, over 137 million people in more than 70 countries, including America, are probably affected by arsenic poisoning of drinking water.
· How did the water pollutant end up in water supplies?
Arsenic leaches into water when water flows pass arsenic-rich soils and rocks. Mining activities, discharges from industries that use arsenic compounds, and runoffs from farms and homes that use arsenic-containing pesticides also add to the amount of the pollutant in water supplies.
·What are the possible health effects of arsenic?
Arsenic is a highly toxic substance and is classified as a carcinogen which can cause cancers of the skin, lung, and bladder as well as heart disease.
·How to remove arsenic from water?
Reverse osmosis is currently the most effective way to remove arsenic. Generating water through air is also another way to avoid arsenic. But take note of the cons highlighted earlier for each of them before purchasing to make sure you can live with the drawbacks.

Hexavalent Chromium

·What is hexavalent chromium?
Hexavalent chromium, or chromium-6, is a common industrial chemical used for the production of textile dyes, pigments, stainless steel, wood preservation, leather tanning, anti-corrosion coatings and other niche uses.
It was made famous by the film “Erin Brockovich”, starring Julia Roberts, that tells the real-life story of cancer-stricken residents of Hinkley who in 1996 won a $333 million settlement from Pacific Gas and Electric Co. for contaminating their tap water with hexavalent chromium.
· How often does it occur in drinking water?
A 2010 study commissioned by the Environmental Working Group found that water from 31 out of 35 US cities was polluted with hexavalent chromium. Of those, 25 had levels that exceeded the safety limits proposed by California regulators.
·How did the water pollutant end up in water supplies?
Discharge by irresponsible industries that produce or use hexavalent chromium, such as metal-plating and leather-tanning facilities as well as steel and pulp mills.
Other forms of chromium, such as chromium-3, also occur naturally in soil, rocks, rivers, plants and animals.
·What are the possible health effects of hexavalent chromium?
Hexavalent chromium has long been known to cause lung cancer when inhaled. There are also increasing scientific evidence linking the pollutant to liver and kidney damage as well as leukemia, stomach cancer and other cancers in lab animals.
·How to remove hexavalent chromium from water?
Use a water filter that is certified to remove hexavalent chromium (chromium-6). MultiPure’s Reverse Osmosis water filter unit is NSF certified to remove all or most of these contaminants.