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Bottled water is safe, say producers

By Chris Mercer , 29-Aug-2006

Bottled water firms have refuted the latest contamination scare to hit the soft drinks industry, saying their products are safe from cancer-causing bromate in the US.

"The current system of bottled water regulation provides consumers with outstanding bottled water safety, quality and public health protection," said the International Bottled Water Association (IBWA).

Its comments follow the recall of several private label bottled waters in New York, including one from the Wegmans retailer and also the Food Club brand, because they contained bromate above the legal limit in the US.

Long-term exposure to bromate may increase consumers' risk of cancer, according to the US government's Environmental Protection Agency, although it is thought the recalled waters posed no health risk to consumers.

After Wegmans, BeverageDaily.com revealed last week that more recalls were planned and that the problem was suspected to have come from a common source, Springbrook Springs.

The IBWA offered no explanation on Monday as to why elevated bromate levels had been found in some waters.

It said it supported Food and Drug Administration (FDA) standards and that the recent recalls proved that the current regulatory system protected consumers. "Consumers can remain confident in making bottled water their beverage of choice."

Wegmans, the first retailer to recall its water, was alerted to a problem by an independent lab, which claimed it found bromate levels in the drink at 27 and 28 parts per billion (ppb). The FDA maximum is 10ppb.

FDA scientists have been working with firms to investigate the problem.

Guidelines on how to avoid bromate in water have been published by the International Ozone Association.

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