Filtering the fine print

The confusion resulting from reports about pesticides in bottled water and soft drinks saw a few companies sneak-ride upon the concerns of the bewildered common man...

 
Published: Saturday 04 July 2015

-- Water Filter

The confusion resulting from reports about pesticides in bottled water and soft drinks saw a few companies sneak-ride upon the concerns of the bewildered common man. Take, for instance, the ad for Usha Brita Waterguard (in The Hindustan Times, September 6, 2003), which instead of detailing the cleaning process, gives visual prominence to news clippings of reportage on pesticides in bottled water.

The ad cleverly uses the words "100 per cent safe" just below these news clippings. A casual reading suggests that the filter offers 100 per cent protection from pesticides. You need a magnifying glass to read what the fine print actually has to say about the "100 per cent safe" claim -- that the protection is "against water borne diseases" and not pesticides. The product's claims about water from the filter being pesticide-free are questionable. Technological limitations make it impossible that water from such a filter will be completely rid of pesticides. The company, on its website, admits the filter can remove about 70 per cent of the pesticides and then too "percentage reductions may vary according to the composition and proportion of substances in the incoming water". How does the company expect a layperson to comprehend this? But then, sales are far more important than such details.

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