The American Beverage Association has hit back at a resolution passed by the US Conference of Mayors that discourages the use of bottled water by city governments.

The Association said a small group of mayors had led the Conference to embrace "sound-bite environmentalism" over sound public policy.

"It's disappointing that some mayors find it more important to spend their time attacking a healthy beverage at a time when families are suffering from floods, rising food and fuel costs and threats to their homes and jobs," said Kevin Keane, a senior vice president of the American Beverage Association, yesterday (23 June). "A few mayors have chosen sound-bite environmentalism over sound public policy in their zeal to appease liberal activist groups that are pedaling misinformation about bottled water.

"This resolution is just cynical politics. It's like being against rope until you need a lifeline," Keane said. "There's great irony in the fact that beverage companies are actively helping mayors in flood-ravaged communities in the Midwest recover, while a handful of mayors in Miami are attacking the water products providing those residents with safe drinking water and good health."

The ABA attacked the environmental claims made by bottled water's critics, pointing out that plastic water bottles are 100% recyclable.

"We're making a positive impact on the environment that goes far beyond politically expedient sound-bites," Keane added. "There's no other consumer products industry doing more to reduce its impact on the environment than the beverage industry."

The passage of the resolution was instigated by San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom.

"We believe that common sense will prevail when mayors return to their communities, as most recognise more pressing challenges are facing their communities than concerns about a healthy water beverage," Keane said. "And we certainly encourage mayors and their staff to learn the full facts about plastic water bottles and their impact on the environment, as well as how the beverage industry is leading the consumer products industry in reducing its impact on the environment. They're receiving a great deal of inaccurate and misleading information from liberal activist groups."