Bottled water concerns health experts

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Bottled water
Image: saw2th.

Canadian researchers from C-crest Laboratories have discovered an "unusually high" amount of bacteria in bottled water. Researchers don't blame specific brands, but bottled water in general.

A random study found unusually high rates of heterotrophic bacteria in the bottled water, more than 500 cfu, the legal limit set by United States Pharmacopeia on how much bacteria should be present in drinking water in Canada. Unusually high amounts of bacteria were present in 70% of the test samples across several brands of bottled water. “Heterotrophic bacteria counts in some of the bottles were found to be in revolting figures of (100) times more than the permitted limit,” said Sonish Azam, a Canadian researcher involved in the study, “This amount of bacteria is alarming, as if we are ingesting a cup of culture.” “Microbiologically speaking,” she said, “tap water is purer than bottled water — most bottled water. We didn't know this until we conducted the research.”

The bacteria are not very harmful to an average person, but many sensitive groups, such as the young, sick or elderly, could get sick from it. "Heterotrophic bacteria counts in drinking water are not a health concern to the general public," was the concluding analyses of a recent study by the World Health Organization.