Yale Scientist Refutes Study on Bottled Water Issued By Environmental Working Group
New Haven, CT, October 16, 2008 — One of the nation’s leading microbiologists, Dr. Stephen Edberg, professor in the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Internal Medicine at the Yale University School of Medicine, and the director of the Clinical Microbiology Laboratory at the Yale-New Haven Hospital, strongly refuted today the Environmental Working Group’s study on bottled water quality, citing the study’s flawed methodology and lack of sound science.
Addressing the study’s findings which were released yesterday, Dr. Edberg said, “The Environmental Working Group’s study on bottled water is troubling for both its lack of acknowledgement of scientifically based history and for failing to conduct controlled scientific experiments. Its conclusions unduly confuse consumers through faulty methodologies and unsubstantiated findings.”
Dr. Edberg highlights two egregious examples, among the study’s many flawed conclusions:
Heterotropic Plate Count (HPC) as a measure of overall bacterial contamination: “HPC is a naturally occurring bacteria. In 1992, the US Environmental Protection Agency considered using an HPC in its new total coliform rule. It found no association between these naturally occurring bacteria and human health. While in 2002, the World Health Organization concluded that HPC were natural and did not result in an adverse health effect.”
Assays for breast cancer cell proliferation: “The study’s ‘breast cancer’ allegation is an egregious example of specious science. The test uses cells in the test tube, indicating that breast cancer cells grew less in tap than bottled water. The reason is obvious, tap water contains chlorine, which inhibits cell growth. No valid research would use tap water to examine cells in culture.”
Recognizing the growing need to scientifically examine the quality and safety facts concerning the country’s drinking water — both municipal and bottled, Dr. Edberg and Professor Menachem Elimelech, PhD Chairman of the Yale University Department of Chemical Engineering will co-host a drinking water symposium, “Your Drinking Water,” in March of 2009, co-sponsored by the Drinking Water Research Foundation, a non-profit 501(c) 3 organization. The symposium will host leading experts to examine a range of water quality and safety issues.
“We believe that the symposium can be a needed catalyst to restore scientific rigor to a subject that has become overly emotional and characterized by pseudo science,” according to Dr. Edberg.
A variety of scientists, academics and government regulatory officials will be invited to present a full spectrum of scientific research. Dr. Edberg serves as a consultant to a range of organizations including the International Bottled Water Association and Nestle Waters North America. He has also served as a consultant for the American Water Works Association, Environmental Protection Agency and the World Health Organization.
Dr. Edberg developed the standard drinking water test that is used worldwide to ascertain microbial contamination and ensure the safety of drinking water.
Additional Information About Dr. Stephen Edberg
Dr. Stephen C. Edberg is a professor in the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Internal Medicine at the Yale University School of Medicine, the director of the Clinical Microbiology Laboratory at Yale-New Haven Hospital and Professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering. He has received the following degrees: B.A. Lehigh University, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, 1967, Major in Biology, Minor in Chemical Engineering; M.A. Hofstra University, Hempstead, New York, 1968, Major in Bacteriology, Minor in Chemistry; Masters thesis entitled: “The Effect of Calcium and Strontium on the Heat Resistance of Bacillus subtilis and Bacillus megaterium; Ph.D. State University of New York at Buffalo Medical School, 1971, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Dissertation entitled: “The Valency of IgM and IgG Antidextran Antibody; Post-doctoral, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, 1972, Medical Microbiology under Dr. J. Sherris and Dr. F. Schoenknecht; M.A. (Honorary), Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut.