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‘11 mineral, bottled water brands unsafe for consumption’

‘11 mineral, bottled water brands unsafe for consumption’

ISLAMABAD: Contaminated bottled water continues to be sold in the market, despite efforts to ensure the provision of safe drinking water, the Pakistan Council for Research in Water Resources (PCRWR) said in its report for the months of April through to June, 2017.

The government has tasked the council with monitoring bottled and mineral water brands and it publicises its results every quarter.

According to the report for April-June, 77 samples of mineral and bottled water brands were collected from Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Sialkot, Peshawar, Gilgit, Multan, Lahore, Bahawalpur, Tandojam and Karachi.

According to the report, 11 brands including New Premier, Natural Pure Water, Livon, Fresh Life, Al-Shalal, Aqua Gen, Vey, Smart Mineral Water, Al-Sahar, Douro and Do Aab water were found to be unsafe due to chemical and microbiological contaminations.

Of these, New Premier and Natural Pure have comparatively high levels of arsenic ranging between 12 and 23 parts per billion when the Pakistan Standards and Quality Control Authority (PSQCA) has set the standard for arsenic at 10ppb.

According to the PCRWR, the excessive level of arsenic can cause various kinds of skin diseases, diabetes, kidney diseases, hypertension, heart diseases, birth defects, black foot diseases and many kinds of cancers.

According to the report, eight of these brands including Fresh Life, Al-Shalal, Aqua Gen, Vey, Smart Mineral Water, Al-Sahar, Douro and Do Aab Water were unsafe due to microbiological contamination, which may cause cholera, diarrhea, dysentery, hepatitis and typhoid, among other diseases.

Two of the brands, New Premier and Livon, contain high levels of sodium ranging between 61 and 66ppb when the PSQCA standard for sodium in water is 50ppm.

According to a senior PCRWR official, most brands marked unsafe for human consumption were often sold in the market with different labels.

The official said laws should be enforced so these businesses were shut down or that they should at least be punished with imprisonment or heavy fines.

Published in Dawn, August 11th, 2017

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