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
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
info from Science News Storage Time
Increases Antimony In Bottled Water by Kris Christen
About The Importance Of Water And Better Alternatives To
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