Nearly Half of Americans Are Very Concerned About Lead Levels in Their Home Drinking Water; Concern About MTBE Also High

Culligan Filters Allow Consumers to Take Control of Their Water Quality

Aug 14, 2000, 01:00 ET from Culligan International Company

    SHEBOYGAN, Wis., Aug. 14 /PRNewswire/ -- According to a national consumer
 survey released today by Culligan International Company, only 36% of Americans
 have even heard of the contaminant MTBE (methyl tertiary-butyl ether) which
 has been recently discovered in certain water supplies located in 49 states.
 Forty-six percent of these informed Americans are very concerned that MTBE may
 affect themselves or their family.  Forty-three percent of all Americans
 surveyed are very concerned about their home drinking water's lead levels.
     The survey, which was conducted for Culligan by Opinion Research
 Corporation, questioned a random sample of 1,000 Americans about their
 perceptions on their residential drinking water as well as their awareness of
 MTBE and lead in certain water supplies.  Based on the survey's findings,
 Culligan feels that the vast majority of American consumers are undereducated
 about major issues related to the quality of their drinking water.
     "It's alarming that more than 60% of Americans are unaware of a major
 water quality issue such as MTBE," notes Gary Hatch, Ph.D., chemical
 engineering manager and laboratory director at Plymouth Products, Inc., a
 subsidiary of USF Consumer & Commercial Group, Inc.  "This illustrates that
 consumers are taking a passive role in ensuring the quality of their home
 drinking water.  They're just assuming that their water is as pure as it can
 be."  He adds, "Contaminants like lead may be deposited into drinking water as
 it runs through pipes and plumbing on its way to the faucet.  This is a
 perfect example of the type of contaminant that consumers must take
 responsibility for and filter themselves."
     An oxygenated fuel additive used in reformulated gasoline, MTBE is
 intended to reduce emissions from motor vehicles.  When the chemical reaches
 water supplies, it may have a taste or odor impact on the water.  According to
 the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), MTBE is considered a potential
 human carcinogen(1).
     Those Americans most concerned about the MTBE issue reside in the Western
 region(2) of the United States, where only 50% are unfamiliar with MTBE.  Of
 the 46% Western region residents who are familiar with MTBE, 51% are concerned
 about the contaminant's possible health-related effects.  The survey indicates
 that those Americans most concerned about lead reside in the Southern
 region(3) of the U.S., where 48% of residents are very concerned about the
 lead levels in their home drinking water.
     Culligan manufactures a complete line of home filtration products designed
 to allow consumers to take control of the quality of their home drinking
 water.  Among them are the recently introduced Culligan SY-2300 MTBE
 Filtration System, an NSF-certified retail product that can reduce MTBE.  In
 addition, the Culligan SY-2300 MTBE Filtration System is the only retail
 product certified to filter up to 500 gallons of water -- a capacity that's
 five times that of its other NSF-certified competitors.  Some Culligan
 products, including the SY-2300, reduce lead in addition to numerous other
 contaminants.  For more information on Culligan's full line of filtration
 products, visit the company's website at or call the
 toll-free Culligan technical support number at 1-800-645-5426.
     Culligan manufactures and distributes water treatment products for retail,
 household, commercial applications, and bottled water worldwide.  A subsidiary
 of United States Filter Corporation that is owned by global water treatment
 leader Vivendi S.A., Culligan is among the most widely recognized brand names
 in America, having been in business since 1936.  Vivendi is a leading provider
 of commercial, industrial, municipal and residential water and wastewater
 treatment products and services.  For more information, Culligan invites you
 to visit their website at as well as those of USFilter
 ( and Vivendi (
     The contaminants discussed in this press release are not necessarily in
 your water and do not necessarily pose a health risk.  Culligan equipment may
 not remove all contaminants affecting your water.
     (1) "MTBE Fact Sheet #1," EPA Office of Underground Storage Tanks:
     (2) Western region includes:  Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado,
         New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, Nevada, Washington, Oregon and California
     (3) Southern region includes:  Delaware, Maryland, District of Columbia,
         Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia,
         Florida, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas,
         Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas

SOURCE Culligan International Company