DAWN NEWS Published at (2014-01-21 07:43:00)
OF late there has been an influx of bottled mineral water of different brands almost everywhere in the country. Mineral water is increasingly used in official and business meetings, seminars and conferences, etc. The cost of mineral water has also risen at par with soft drinks. But how safe is bottled mineral water?
The Ministry of Science and Technology, Pakistan Standard and Quality Control Authority and Pakistan Council for Research in Water Resources are organisations responsible for ensuring quality of all brands of mineral water.
According to recent reports in the media, the Pakistan Standard and Quality Control Authority had issued notices and filed cases against 59 companies, that manufacture bottled water, for not adhering to the required quality standards.
These included 24 from Punjab, 25 from Sindh, two from Khyber Pukhtunkhwa and eight from Islamabad. Furthermore, licences of 12 companies were also cancelled and cases filed against them. These figures were out of 84 brands of mineral water collected from 12 major cities from July to September last year.
Out of the total samples, 63 brands were found to be safe and 21 brands unsafe for human consumption due to chemical and microbial contamination.
Big business houses and government offices should opt for using filtered water. The water filter system may appear costly but human health is more precious, to say the least.
Official regulating agencies of bottled mineral water should release quarterly reports in the media. They should give information on brands found not fit for human consumption.
There’s a good chance that fancy water you’ve just forked out a couple bucks for comes from the same place, a municipal water supply! Yes, there’s an estimated 25% of bottled water that actually comes from the municipal water supply. Of course the water goes through a filtering process, like reverse osmosis, deionization, activated carbon filtration and other treatments.
Look at the label carefully, does it read “purified” or “drinking water”? If so, chances are it is from a municipal water supply, and unless the water has been “substantially” altered, it’s required to be stated on the label, that the water’s from a municipal source.
Here’s a list of bottled waters which are from municipal sources: Pepsi’s Aquafina, Coke’s Dasani, and now it looks like Nestle’s Ice Mountain Natural Spring Water is up in the air with a class action lawsuit for a document revealing a 5 gal water bottle that was defined by Nestle as, “municipal water and/or well water” processed by Nestle’s treatment plants and repackaged with images of pristine glacial lakes and mountains.
It’s All About The Filter!
The thing about tap water is it’s treated with chlorine to kill bacteria. The other part of the treatment is a filtration process, which is more or less the same as what the bottled water company’s use. Tap water is good and safe to drink, that’s unless there’s fracking in your state, then there’s fracking fluid seeping into the ground and that can’t be good!
If you don’t care for the taste or “feel” of chlorine coming through your tap, then it can be removed easily enough with a filter. In fact, a Brita water filter works wonders and if you’d like to keep the skin on your face soft and younger looking, fill a washbasin with home filtered water and wash you face! Also to save money, keep the Brita filters longer than the company recommends, it just the tap water will drain through the filter a bit slower.
We wouldn’t recommend walking about with a big Brita jug and chugging from it, like in the image. Instead, consider getting those Aluminum Water Bottles that are quite inexpensive and come in various sizes; they’ll last forever!
It wasn’t until the 1990s when bottled H2O became an everyday common sight and a symbol of our cultural desire towards fitness and “health-consciousness”. Even today health enthusiasts claim drinking water often helps to “detox and boost the metabolism!”
There have been controversies about chemicals leeching into the water from the soft plastic material of bottles, but the FDA determined the containers “do not pose a health risk to consumers.” IBISWorld reports that the “U.S. is the largest consumer for bottled water in the world, followed by Mexico, China, and Brazil”.