ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Council for Research in Water Resources (PCRWR) on Wednesday declared 13 brands of bottled water unsafe for human consumption.

The government through Ministry of Science and Technology had assigned the task to the council for quarterly monitoring of bottled water brands and publicise the results in the best interest of public health.

For the last quarter - October to December, 2020 - 119 samples were collected from Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Quetta, Gilgit, D.G. Khan, Multan, Faisalabad, Karachi, Bahawalpur, Tando Jam, Sialkot, Muzaffarabad and Lahore. Comparison of test results with permissible limits of Pakistan Standards and Quality Control Authority (PSQCA) has revealed that 13 brands are unsafe for human consumption.

Five brands - Maskoob, Blue Life, One, Dropice, Blue Plus - were found to be unsafe due to presence of higher levels of sodium ranging from 64-100 mg/L, more than the standard approved by PSQCA for bottled water, which is 50 mg/L.

Three brands, Maskoob, Al Safa and Pure Nature were found unsafe due to presence of high levels of arsenic ranging from 14-29 microgram (µg/L), more than the PSQCA water quality standard for arsenic, which is 10 µg/L.

In its report, PCRWR stated that two brands such as the Aqua Swag and More Plus were found unsafe due to the presence of low levels of free hydrogen or pH. Another four brands - McWay Water, Pristine One, Alkaline Water and Aqua Star were found microbiologically contaminated.

Published in Dawn, January 21st, 2021

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