ISLAMABAD, Oct 12: High level of arsenic has been found in ten bottled/mineral water brands, said the July to September 2012 Quarterly Report issued by Pakistan Council for Research in Water Resources.
The report highlighted that poor quality of drinking water in the country had forced large numbers of citizens to turn to bottled water. As a consequence of this expanding market, a mushroom growth of bottled water industry in the country was witnessed during the last few years.
“To monitor and improve the quality of bottled water, the government through Ministry of Science and Technology had assigned the task to PCRWR for quarterly monitoring of bottled water brands and publicizing the results,” said the spokesperson of the lab Lubna Naheed.
According to the monitoring report for the quarter, 67 samples of mineral/bottled water brands were collected from Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Lahore, Faisalabad, Multan, Sargodha, Sialkot, Peshawar and Quetta.
Comparison of analytical findings with permissible limits of Pakistan Standard Quality Control Authority (PSQCA) revealed that 14 brands such as Premium Pure Water, NXT, Kallan Water, Aqua Hygienic, Standard, Kalash Pure Water, Nation, Lock, Aqua National, Active, Al-Shifa, Naimat, Natur Aqua and Irma National were found unsafe due to chemical or microbiological contaminations.
Out of those 14 unsafe brands 10 brands (Premier Pure Water, Nation, Naimat, Natur Aqua, Kallan Water, Active, Al-Shifa, Lock, Aqua National, Kalash Pure Water) contained high level of Arsenic ranging from 14 ppb to 380 ppb much higher than the permissible limit of 10 ppb, which has hazardous impacts on health.
The arsenic contamination could cause cancer of the lungs, bladder, skin, prostrate, kidney, nose and liver, besides causing diabetes, kidney diseases, hypertension, heart diseases, birth defects, black foot diseases, etc.
Five brands — Premier Pure Water, Nation, Natur Aqua, Aqua Hygienic and Irma National — were unsafe due to high level of sodium, one brand for high level of potassium whereas another one was found microbiologically unsafe.
The spokesperson said that after the regular publicizing of the analysis report by PCRWR at its official website and in the media, on an average 40 to 50 per cent bottled water brands regularly disappeared from the market, which were re-launched with a new brand names or, with the same names after an interval of three to six months.
PCRWR has urged the national quality control/ surveillance authorities to take serious action against companies supplying contaminated water to the public.