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On bottled water, climate change, and the kind of filtration that really needs a marketing push
Despite the fact that public water supplies in the United States are heavily regulated, and that water quality is subject to Federal scrutiny, it isn't hard to find people who insist either on drinking bottled water or on filtering all of their home drinking water. The filtration market is measured in the billions of dollars a year. And the bottled-water market claims even bigger sales than filtration.
■ Considering the safety and ready availability of tap water, the bottled and filtered water markets are mainly redundant, a triumph more of marketing than of necessity. By comparison, we are decades overdue for indoor air filtration to get the same kind of boost.
■ If anything is true about the generally-accepted prospects for climate change, then the future is going to require lots of people to spend a lot more time in either indoor or semi-indoor spaces. Higher temperatures will require air conditioning. Meaner storms will send more people indoors for shelter. Patterns generally will send more people into urban areas where time will be spent in spaces together.
■ The coming decades are going to involve a long-term contest between spending on indoor climate controls and the quest to achieve improved indoor air quality, particularly regarding viruses and other biological hazards. Finding ways to keep temperatures livable indoors will call for spending on both energy and equipment. But the quality of the air itself will need more attention.
■ Water quality is assured already, and spending on additional filtration is in most cases little more than a cosmetic exercise. But there are real things that can be done to make indoor air quality better, and few of them have been widely done. The sooner that turns around, the better.