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The battle over bottled vs. tap water

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She estimates that there may be as many as 100 more such "boycott the bottle" groups at various stages of organization in the US and Canada, with new groups forming monthly. In addition, roughly 12,000 people, mostly college students, have signed a TOTB pledge to not buy bottled water.

It's enough to make producers of bottled water nervous.

After student groups at Boston College and Vermont's Middlebury College persuaded their schools to terminate lucrative contracts with bottled water companies, their student newspapers received letters from the American Beverage Association (ABA) and Nestlé Waters North America, reminding a generation of new customers that they have worked to improve recycling while keeping an "on-the-go society" hydrated.

But for Tufts students like Daniel, greener efforts may no longer be enough. When she learned that as much as 40 percent of bottled water comes from municipally managed water sources, and not the pristine springs she imagined, she decided to seal the cap once and for all.

"Clearly the ABA is threatened by this movement because they know how powerful college students are," says Lizzie DeWan, a junior at Tufts and cofounder of its TOTB campaign.

The International Bottled Water Asso­ciation shot back at critics in a press release, saying, "To single out this product as any more polluting or dangerous than the thousands of others packaged in plastic is to ignore the fact that today's society demands and relies upon packaged food and drinks."

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