Category Archives: Bottled Water

Antimony Leaching from Drinking Water Bottling Material

C.A. Chapa-Martínez, L. Hinojosa-Reyes, A. Hernández-Ramírez, E. Ruiz-Ruiz, L. Maya-Treviño, J.L. Guzmán-Mar. An evaluation of the migration of antimony from polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic used for bottled drinking water. Science of The Total Environment, Volume 565, 15 September 2016, Pages 511-518.

The leaching of antimony (Sb) from polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottling material was assessed in twelve brands of bottled water purchased in Mexican supermarkets by atomic fluorescence spectrometry with a hydride generation system (HG-AFS). Dowex® 1X8-100 ion-exchange resin was used to preconcentrate trace amounts of Sb in water samples. Migration experiments from the PET bottle material were performed in water according to the following storage conditions: 1) temperature (25 and 75 °C), 2) pH (3 and 7) and 3) exposure time (5 and 15 days), using ultrapure water as a simulant for liquid foods. The test conditions were studied by a 23 factorial experimental design. The Sb concentration measured in the PET packaging materials varied between 73.0 and 111.3 mg/kg. The Sb concentration (0.28–2.30 μg/L) in all of the PET bottled drinking water samples examined at the initial stage of the study was below the maximum contaminant level of 5 μg/L prescribed by European Union (EU) regulations. The parameters studied (pH, temperature, and storage time) significantly affected the release of Sb, with temperature having the highest positive significant effect within the studied experimental domain. The highest Sb concentration leached from PET containers was in water samples at pH 7 stored at 75 °C for a period of 5 days. The extent of Sb leaching from the PET ingredients for different brands of drinking water can differ by as much as one order of magnitude in experiments conducted under the worst-case conditions. The chronic daily intake (CDI) caused by the release of Sb in one brand exceeded the Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) regulated CDI value of 400 ng/kg/day, with values of 514.3 and 566.2 ng/kg/day for adults and children. Thus, the appropriate selection of the polymer used for the production of PET bottles seems to ensure low Sb levels in water samples.

Did Point-of-Use Chlorination Increase During a Cholera Epidemic?

McLennan, J.D. Original Research: Did point-of-use drinking water strategies for children change in the Dominican Republic during a cholera epidemic?  Public Health Nov 2015

Objective: Point-of-use (POU) strategies to improve drinking water, particularly chlorination, are promoted within cholera epidemics when centrally delivered safe drinking water is lacking. Most studies examining POU practices during cholera epidemics have relied on single cross-sectional studies which are limited for assessing behavioural changes. This study examined POU practices in a community over time during a cholera outbreak. 

Study design: Secondary data analysis of existing dataset. 

Methods: During attendance at well-baby clinics serving a low-income peri-urban community in the Dominican Republic, mothers had been routinely asked, using a structured questionnaire, about POU strategies used for drinking water for their children. Frequency distribution of reported practices was determined over a 21 month period during the cholera outbreak on the island of Hispaniola.

Results: An estimated 27.8% of children were reported to have had some exposure to untreated tap water. Unsustained reductions in exposure to untreated tap water were noted early in the epidemic. POU chlorination was infrequent and showed no significant or sustained increases over the study time period.

Conclusion: High reliance on bottled water, consistent with national household patterns prior to the cholera outbreak, may have reduced the perceived need for POU chlorination. Examination of the safety of relying on bottled water during cholera outbreaks is needed. Additionally, further inquiries are needed to understand variation in POU practices both during and beyond cholera outbreaks.

Chlorine addition to household drinking water was infrequent in the study community. No sustained water improvement practices were detected during a cholera outbreak. Extensive pre-existing bottled water use may have contributed to the lack of change.

Bottled water quality in North India

Sharma B, Kaur S. Microbial evaluation of bottled water marketed in North India. Indian journal of public health. 2015 Oct-Dec;59(4):299-301. doi: 10.4103/0019-557X.169660.

Drinking unsafe and unhygienic water can cause waterborne diseases such as diarrhea and typhoid. The present study describes the microbial evaluation of bottled water sold in North India. The samples were analyzed for total viable count and coliforms and susceptibility to different antibiotics. Though free of coliforms, the samples had a total viable count ranging from 0.01 × 10 1 cfu/mL to 2.40 × 10 3 cfu/mL and in 17% of the samples, total viable count was much higher than specified by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), Government of India. Among the samples, 6.5% also showed fungal growth. On checking the sensitivity of bacteria isolates to different antibiotics, most of the strains were found to be resistant to a number of antibiotics. It can thus be concluded that the consumption of bottled water with a high viable count and that was bacteria-resistant to different antibiotics may have an effect on the health of the consumers, especially immune-compromised individuals.

Drinking Water Quality Perception in a Mexico University

Another study on the question of which is better: bottled water or tap water. People will do what they want to do and vote with their wallets. Trying to convince them otherwise (that bottled water is bad) is unnecessary and usually futile.

Espinosa-García AC, Díaz-Ávalos C, González-Villarreal FJ, Val-Segura R, Malvaez-Orozco V, Mazari-Hiriart M. Drinking Water Quality in a Mexico City University Community: Perception and Preferences. Ecohealth. 2014 Sep 30.

A transversal study was conducted at the University City campus of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) in Mexico City, with the goal of estimating the university community preference for drinking either tap water or bottled water and the reasons for their selection. A representative sample of three university community subpopulations (students, workers/administrative staff, and academic personnel) were interviewed with respect to their water consumption habits. The results showed that 75% of the university community drinks only bottled water and that the consumption of tap water is low. The interviewees responded that the main reason for this preference is the organoleptic features of tap water independent of quality. In general, the participants in this study do not trust the quality of the tap water, which could be caused by the facilities that distribute bottled water encouraging a general disinterest in learning about the origin and management of the tap water that is distributed on campus.

Click here for full paper (fee).

Another study comparing bottled water with tap water to undermine a free-market business in favor of government

Such studies are done every few years or so and they come to the same conclusion. Why do such studies keep being repeated, this one by a group that has nothing to do with drinking water? Drinking water is used as a hook in an attempt to get positive exposure for the organization, undermine free-market business, and prop up  government-run utilities.

(Government-run utilities are fine if that is what the customers want, after all they pay for the water. But consumers vote with their spending, and based on booming bottled water sales, it looks like the consumers have already spoken, regardless of what the WWF thinks.)

“Bottlers of water generally capitalize on consumer concerns about municipal water supplies, creating demand for their product via an association with pristine environs. Some bottled waters, however, differ from tap water merely by being distributed in bottles rather than through pipes, according to a report commissioned by Switzerland-based World Wildlife Fund International.” click here

Antimony and BPA release from water bottles in China

Fan YY, Zheng JL, Ren JH, Luo J, Cui XY, Ma LQ. Effects of storage temperature and duration on release of antimony and bisphenol A from polyethylene terephthalate drinking water bottles of China. Environ Pollut. 2014 Jun 5;192C:113-120. doi: 10.1016/j.envpol.2014.05.012.

We investigated effects of storage temperature and duration on release of antimony (Sb) and bisphenol A (BPA) from 16 brands of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) drinking water bottles in China. After 1-week storage, Sb release increased from 1.88-8.32 ng/L at 4 °C, to 2.10-18.4 ng/L at 25 °C and to 20.3-2604 ng/L at 70 °C. The corresponding releases for BPA were less at 0.26-18.7, 0.62-22.6, and 2.89-38.9 ng/L. Both Sb and BPA release increased with storage duration up to 4-week, but their releasing rates decreased with storage time, indicating that Sb and BPA release from PET bottles may become stable under long term storage. Human health risk was evaluated based on the worst case, i.e., storage at 70 °C for 4-week. Chronic daily intake (CDI) caused by BPA release was below USEPA regulation, Sb release in one brand exceeded USEPA regulated CDI (400 ng/kg bw/d) with values of 409 and 1430 ng/kg bw/d for adult and children.

Click here for full paper (fee).

Phthalate leaching from PET bottles

Szilvia Keresztes, Enikő Tatár, Zsuzsanna Czégény, Gyula Záray,
Victor G. Mihucz. Study on the leaching of phthalates from polyethylene terephthalate bottles into mineral water. Science of The Total Environment. Volumes 458–460, 1 August 2013, Pages 451–458.

Carbonated and non-carbonated mineral water samples bottled in 0.5-L, 1.5-L and 2.0-L polyethylene terephthalate (PET) containers belonging to three different water brands commercialized in Hungary were studied in order to determine their phthalate content by gas chromatography–mass spectrometry. Among the six investigated phthalates, diisobutyl phthalate, di-n-butyl-phthalate, benzyl-butyl phthalate and di(2-ethyl-hexyl) phthalate (DEHP) were determined in non-carbonated samples as follows: < 3.0 ng L− 1–0.2 μg L− 1, < 6.6 ng L− 1–0.8 μg L− 1, < 6.0 ng L− 1–0.1 μg L− 1 and < 16.0 ng L− 1–1.7 μg L− 1, respectively. Any of the above-mentioned phthalate esters could be detected in carbonated mineral water samples. DEHP was the most abundant phthalate in the investigated samples. It could be detected after 44 days of storage at 22 °C and its leaching was the most pronounced when samples were stored over 1200 days. Mineral water purchased in PET bottles of 0.5 L had the highest phthalate concentrations compared to those obtained for waters of the identical brand bottled in 1.5-L or 2.0-L PET containers due to the higher surface/volume ratio. No clear trend could be established for phthalate leaching when water samples were kept at higher temperatures (max. 60 °C) showing improper storage conditions. Phthalate determination by pyrolysis–gas chromatography/mass spectrometric measurements in the plastic material as well as in the aqueous phase proved the importance of the quality of PET raw material used for the production of the pre-form (virgin vs. polymer containing recycled PET).

Click here for full paper (fee).