Bottled water meets health standards

Updated: 2009-06-16 07:35

By Irene Chan(HK Edition)

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The Consumer Council says bottled waters sold in the city meet the Codex Standard for natural mineral waters with one exception.

The council cautioned that "Perrier Natural Mineral Water Fortified with Gas from the Spring" contains nitrite 4 times higher than the recommended maximum of 0.1 mg/L.

The Council carried out extensive tests on bottled water, evaluating concentrations of inorganic chemicals, heavy metals, pesticides, residual disinfectants and microbiological quality.

Currently, no specific legislation governs the level of nitrite in bottled waters, but food sold in Hong Kong must be fit for human consumption. The Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Addictive (JECFA) recommends that daily nitrite consumption be limited to 0-0.07 mg/kg of body weight. According to that standard an averaged sized adult would have to consume 13 bottles of Perrier daily to risk an extended health threat.

The limit for individuals is based on an assumed body weight of 60 kg, yielding a recommended daily maximum of 4.2 mg/day. For children or infants, the limit would be much less.

Nevertheless, spokesman of the Consumer Council reassured that drinking the bottled water under normal circumstances should not be harmful.

(HK Edition 06/16/2009 page1)