NY - Bottled water poisoning puts drinkers on alert

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NEW YORK (AP) _ Five people have been sickened after drinking bottled water contaminated with chemicals, and authorities were trying to determine whether the cases were linked and involved tampering. Two people were sickened Thursday. The other incidents occurred over the past few weeks and involved different brands of water, according to the FBI, which is investigating. The conditions of the latest victims were not immediately known, but the others have since recovered. Mayor Rudolph Giuliani urged people to take precautions before drinking bottled water. "Make sure that you open the bottle yourself. And you actually hear it, and you hear the noise and the air coming out," Giuliani said Wednesday, adding that people should take a sniff before drinking. On Aug. 3, a woman felt a burning sensation in her throat and began bleeding from the mouth after drinking bottled water in a restaurant. Tests on the water showed that it contained "some type of sodium hydroxide," a lye-type agent, Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik said. A man who drank from a bottle of water purchased from a deli on Aug. 27 felt a burning sensation in his throat. The water was found to contain ammonia. On Sept. 6, a woman gave her 18-month-old son a sip of bottled water purchased from a takeout restaurant. The baby became ill and the water turned out also to be tainted with ammonia. "You cannot draw the conclusion that the cases are linked," said Giuliani. "It"s too early to tell what kind of trend (is occurring) or exactly what"s going on." FBI spokesman Joseph Valiquette said his agency was told about the contaminations by the health department on Sept.8 _ five days before the mayor held a press conference announcing the possible tampering. Health Department spokeswoman Sandra Mullin said the department suspected tampering on Sept. 6, but could not explain the delay in informing top city officials or issuing public health warnings. Chris Mikulka, a musician from Manhattan who bought a bottle of Poland Spring from a midtown Manhattan deli Thursday, said he would not stop buying water from stores. "I guess I"ll just have to be more careful about checking the safety wrapper," he said. "I try not to worry about these things too much."


-- Doris (reaper@pacifier.com), September 15, 2000


I think if you can free water why purchase water it does not make any sense Drink tap water people don't worry about sick people poising you or getting you sick.

-- Arlene (winniedapoohlove@aol.com), September 18, 2000.

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