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Health Warning Over Safety Of Bottled Water

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Britain's £2bn-a-year thirst for bottled water is not only financially and environmentally foolish, it may even harm the drinkers' health, campaigners say.

 

Possible problems associated with shop-bought water include excess sodium, the leaching of toxins and benzene contamination, according to a report published yesterday by the sustainable food and farming group Sustain.

 

The industry was thriving because the public believed that mineral and spring water was superior, yet blind taste tests often found people preferred tap water, said the report Have You Bottled It?

 

Tap water was good quality and environmentally friendly, the report argued, while the bottled version generated pollution and was associated with health fears.

 

The campaigning group said marketing encouraged customers to buy bottled water, which at 95p a litre was 1,000 times more expensive than the tap. "Bottled water marketing plays heavily on notions of purity, peace, silence, nature - an antidote to our busy urban lifestyles," the report said.

 

"The product is also promoted heavily to 15- to 34-year-old women and has become a 'must have' fashion accessory." But it warned: "Not only are there no convincing health reasons for preferring bottled water to tap water, there are some health concerns about bottled water.

 

"Indeed the French Senate advises people who drink bottled mineral water to change brands frequently, because the minerals in particular brands may be harmful in high doses, if consumed over a long period."

 

Water from bottles made of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) also contain low levels of the heavy metal antimony. On leaching, the report warned: "It is possible that some potentially toxic chemicals may migrate out of the plastic product and into whatever it is in contact with." This happened in October 2005 when the BBC found unopened bottles of Volvic that had been contaminated with napthalene.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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