Bottled water health alert: is it too purified?greenspun.com : LUSENET : TB2K spinoff uncensored : One Thread
Bottled water health alert: is it too purified?
By HELEN SIGNY
Some brands of bottled water may contain up to 20 times the recommended level of bromate, a substance that can cause temporary nausea, diarrhoea, central nervous system depression and permanent kidney failure and deafness, a study has shown.
The study, posted on the Australian Consumer Association's Choice Web site, tested small samples of 30 brands of bottled water and found 12 of them contained a higher level of bromate than is recommended for tap water.
Sales of bottled water surged in Sydney after giardia and cryptosporidium bugs were found in tap water in 1998, and the market grew by up to 30 per cent between 1998 and 1999.
Bromate, which is also a suspected carcinogen, is formed when water which already contains bromide is purified by a process called ozonation. Water can also be sterilised by chlorination or ultra-violet light.
The National Health and Medical Research Council recommends that tap water contain no more than 0.02 mg of bromate per litre. Bottled water is considered a food and is not covered by these guidelines.
The study, conducted by the Australian Water Quality Centre and the University of South Australia, analysed one bottle of each of 30 brands - 19 had been treated with ozone and, of these, 12 contained high levels of bromate. One contained no less than 0.383 mg/L, almost 20 times the limit recommended for tap water.
The study also found a brand which had been treated by ozonation and then passed through a filter had an acceptable level of bromate. It did not name any of the brands.
One of the authors, Mr Dennis Mulcahy, an associate professor in the school of chemical technology at the University of South Australia, said there was no evidence that anyone had become sick from bottled water. But the guidelines for bromate in tap and bottled water should be standardised.
"We have made a decision about a level for drinking water and we haven't made the same decision about bottled water. And we know we get a reasonably high level [of bromate] in bottled water - certainly above the guidelines for tap water," he said.
The chief executive of the International Bottled Water Association, Mr Tony Gentile, criticised the study's sample size.
"We find it absolutely disgusting that these people who released the study ... which is causing public concern, are not willing to provide us with the information so we can follow up the companies where they have a problem.
"We are more than happy if we are required to [test for bromate]. As an industry association, we have a very hard code which we insist our members abide by, and we may decide to do it ourselves anyway."
Bottled water is regulated by the Australia New Zealand Food Authority, which does not mention bromate levels either in its existing code or in the new Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code.
An authority spokesman said it was considering the study.
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Posted out of general interest and awareness. There's an awful lot of bottled water in storage...in doomer caches I mean.
Regards from OZ
-- Pieter (email@example.com), May 06, 2000
I cached tap water, Pieter. I'm also in the process of recycling the stuff I put away six months ago (it goes on the garden) and refilling the jugs because it's still tornado season. I'll probably maintain 55 gals through the summer as a general precaution. Last summer, there were problems with the city water supply and parts of the area had to boil their water for two days.
-- (firstname.lastname@example.org), May 06, 2000.