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Bottled Water Health Concerns

Recent experiments show that the longer a bottle of water sits on a store shelf or in a household pantry, the higher the dose of antimony the person who drinks it will receive. In research published on ES&T's Research ASAP website (DOI: 10.10201/es061511+), scientists find that the leached amounts can vary significantly, depending on the bottled water brand. Still, the amounts being measured are well below drinking water standards. The amount of antimony in bottled water varies considerably from bottle to bottle.

Researchers at the University of Heidelberg Institute of Environmental Geochemistry (Germany) measured the abundance of this potentially toxic trace element in 15 brands of Canadian bottled water and 48 European brands. They reported concentrations of more than 100 times the average level of antimony in pristine groundwaters, which is 2 parts per trillion.

After letting the same bottles sit at room temperature for 6 months, the researchers found that average antimony concentrations in the Canadian bottled waters increased by 19%, and by 90% in the European brands. Different samples of some of the same brands showed fairly consistent antimony leaching rates. In one case, however, a brand bottled in France but purchased in Hong Kong yielded significantly higher concentrations of antimony than the same brand purchased in Germany.

Most of the waters tested were packaged in polyethylene terephthalate (PET) containers. "We really have no idea why these different PET bottles have different reactivities," says Bill Shotyk, the lead author of the study. Antimony trioxide is used as a catalyst in the manufacture of PET. Shotyk suspects that elevated temperatures, different water pHs, and possibly exposure to sunlight could be playing a role in the varying leach rates.

What's clear, he says, is that water bottled in PET contains much more antimony than regular tap water. What isn't clear is the implications for human health. "It's an emerging contaminant, and one ought to take a closer look at it," says Annette Johnson from the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology. Antimony is a suspected carcinogen, "but there's no proof of this," she cautions. Additionally, exposure through drinking water may not turn out to be the primary source, particularly in cities, because antimony is used in such a wide range of products. "One of the most direct uptake possibilities is dust, where you have very elevated antimony levels because of brake pad erosion," Johnson notes.

info from Science News Storage Time Increases Antimony In Bottled Water by Kris Christen 1/07

Learn More About The Importance Of Water And Better Alternatives To Bottled Water



Tanning & Natural Health News is a publication of Tan Plus /Essentials Of Life, Barclay Square, 350 Route 108, Somersworth, NH. This publication is designed for educational purposes only and is not intended to be presented as medical advice. Product statements made have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration.

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