Perceptions of bottled water consumers in three Brazilian municipalities

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This study presents perceptions of consumers of bottled water in their households in three Brazilian municipalities. Data from interviews were analyzed using the Discourse Collective Subject method. Interviewees spent, on average, the equivalent of 40% of their water bill for the public water supply on the purchase of bottled water. The decision about water consumption in the household was predominantly made by women. Interviewees were particularly concerned with health risks and expressed a strong preference for the safety and organoleptic qualities of bottled water, particularly in cases where the tap water supply did not fully meet the regulated water quality standards. Interviewees were largely unaware of the origin, type, storage, and social and environmental impacts of bottled water. Results highlight the importance of water education efforts among the general population and the key role of women in the processes related to drinking water. The need for gender-specific interventions and the empowerment of women on water issues is noted. Results also strongly support the relevance of ensuring the provision of safe drinking water, from the source to the consumption point, with the trust of consumers.

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