New book in Dutch

Eet vet word slank

Eet vet word slank gepubliceerd januari 2013

In dit boek lees je o.a.: * heel veel informatie ter bevordering van je gezondheid; * hoe je door de juiste vetten te eten en te drinken kan afvallen; * hoe de overheid en de voedingsindustrie ons, uit financieel belang, verkeerd voorlichten; * dat je van bewerkte vetten ziek kan worden.

Trick and Treat:
How 'healthy eating' is making us ill
Trick and Treat cover

"A great book that shatters so many of the nutritional fantasies and fads of the last twenty years. Read it and prolong your life."
Clarissa Dickson Wright

Natural Health & Weight Loss cover

"NH&WL may be the best non-technical book on diet ever written"
Joel Kauffman, PhD, Professor Emeritus, University of the Sciences, Philadelphia, PA

The Bottle Boom — Why Buy Bottled Water?

Part 2: Bottled Water Cleanliness

Occasionally, one sees reports in the news of pesticides, bacteria or toxic metals in the public water supply. Many think that this is a good reason to change to bottled water. But is it?

   The 1989 United Kingdom Water Act requires that tap water is tested at every stage of its treatment. Tap water usually comes from reservoirs and other surface water sources. Even here it is tested daily. Then it is pumped to filter beds where layers of graded sand or carbon filters remove all particles of matter and microbes, and it is tested again. At this stage the water is checked in laboratories against 57 parameters which can detect 80-90 different substances. After this the water is chlorinated to ensure that any remaining bacteria are killed. If any unwanted substances do manage to get through all these tests and into the public supply, they will be in such small quantities as to be quite harmless. Detailed analyses of public tap water are available on demand.

   Are bottled waters as clean? We just don't know. Bottled waters are split in law into two types: 'Mineral' and 'Spring' waters. The Natural Mineral Waters Association claims that the regulations which apply to them are draconian and expensive. But the parameters call for mineral waters to be tested for only 13 chemicals and bacteria - less than one quarter as many substances as are tested for in tap water. There are also no requirements that mineral water be tested daily or even weekly. A mineral water manufacturer can test when conditions suit him and when a clean result is likely. But the public still cannot know what those tests say, as the results of tests of mineral waters are not available to the public. The regulations on 'Spring Waters' are even more relaxed - there is no specific legislation at all! Anyone can go to any water source, bottle the water, call it 'Natural Spring Water' and sell it in shops without doing any analyses at all. And it is likely to be contaminated.

   The Hereford and Worcester Public Analyst tested many of springs in his area and found that over half were unfit for human consumption. He considered that without safeguards, many of the bottled spring waters were unsafe.

Mineral contamination

Scientists at the University of Wales at Aberystwyth led by Dr Ron Fuge tested 81 bottled waters, selected at random, for their mineral content using a plasma mass spectrometer. Many were found to have levels of potentially harmful minerals which were above the legal regulation levels for tap water. In some cases they were considerably higher. The legal limit for sodium in tap water is 150 mg/litre. The amount of sodium in Vichy Saint-Yorre, for example, was seven times that limit. For anyone on a low-salt diet, this is much too high. In Hépas, calcium was nearly twice the limit and fluoride in Mattoni was more than twice the limit. Uranium is rarely seen in tap water. Where it is, it is less than 2 micrograms per litre. There are no specific limits set down for uranium but uranium is a very toxic metal and the probable prudent limit is about 4 micrograms per litre. Perrier's level was 4 micrograms, San Pellegrino was 8 and Radnor Hills 12. Uranium in Badoit, however, was a massive 24 times the prudent limit. Badoit's label states 'Constant analysis shows that there is a low level (97 micrograms per litre) of uranium present and this is a natural component.' Natural it may be, but low level it is not. Of the 81 waters tested, 17 exceeded mineral limits for tap water as defined in the UK Act and a further 29 exceeded guidelines laid down elsewhere.

   Italian scientists studied the cause of kidney stones in the city of Parma. They compared the diets of stone formers with people free of the complaint and found that there was only one difference. 'It was deduced that stone patients did not follow a different dietary style from the rest of the population except for a high consumption of uncarbonated mineral water'. The amount consumed was less than two litres a day.

Man-made chemical contamination

Contamination from man-made chemicals is potentially more of a problem than the minerals. The chemicals can be split into two classes: organic and inorganic. The organic chemicals likely to be found are residues of pesticides and herbicides used by the farming industry, and industrial detergents used both by farms and the water industry.

   Until fairly recently there were no limits set for organic chemicals in tap water. That has changed and there are now stringent limits in which allowed amounts are in the order of only 1 part in ten billion. Such a low level can be difficult to achieve; Thames Water alone is spending £350 million to remove these chemicals. If you hear of tap waters breaking these limits, and it does happen from time to time, and are thinking that you might be better off with bottled water, you might reflect that in many cases, the same aquifer is used for both tap and bottled water - and there are no tests for pesticides required to be done on bottled water. The bottled water manufacturers don't test for organic chemicals and, as it is expensive, there has been no independent study of the problem in Britain. However, the Suffolk County Study in the USA tested 88 bottled waters and what they found was horrifying. It was this study which discovered the cancer agent, benzene, in Perrier and caused it to be withdrawn, but they also found: Freon, kerosene, toluene, trichloroethylene, and xylene in a number of other bottled waters.

   Another American team in Pennsylvania analysed 37 brands, 28 of them from Europe, for: alkalinity, aluminium, barium, beryllium, boron, cadmium, calcium, chloride, chromium, cobalt, copper, fluoride, iron, lead, lithium, magnesium, manganese, mercury, molybdenum, nickel, nitrate, pH, phosphate, potassium, silver, sodium, specific conductance, sulphate, tin, vanadium and zinc. Twenty-four of the 37 did not comply with drinking water standards in the USA. With the exception of Mountain Valley, a United States water, every one of them failed to pass EEC or WHO limits on at least one count.

   In Britain, manufacturers use similar techniques to those used in the USA. Although there have been no comparable studies conducted here, there is no reason to suppose that a similar problem does not exist. The only monitoring that is done, is done by the water companies themselves - and they don't publish the findings.

Bacterial contamination

There are bacteria all around us: in the air, in the water, on our hands and on bottling equipment. In tap water, bacteria are killed by the chlorine or ultra-violet light with which the water is treated. Although the limit for bacteria in tap water is 100 bacteria per millilitre, the normal level found is around 2 bacteria per millilitre. The situation with bottled waters is quite different. In a test of 51 bottled waters taken at random, Chester Public Health Laboratory found only 22 with a bacterial content within the limits set for tap water. Only Purefect 95 and the sparkling waters bottled in glass had levels comparable to tap water. Ten of the other waters had levels of up to 1,000 bacteria per millilitre, eight had between 1,000 and 10,000, while a further eleven were in the 10,000 to 100,000 bacteria class. One bottle was found to contain 188,000 bacteria per millilitre - a massive 1,880 times the limit for tap water.

   Once again there are no legal limits for bacteria in bottled waters, although there is a legal requirement that no bacteria must be introduced during the bottling process. The bacterium usually found is Pseudomonas fluorescens , found widely in fresh-water springs and not considered to be a contaminant. But while the presence of this bacterium is not considered dangerous in bottled water, when it is found in meat products it is described as potentially pathogenic and is a cause for concern.

   There are no regulations governing the number of bacteria in bottled water at point of sale. However, there is a legal requirement that none must be added at the bottling stage. It is disturbing, therefore, that Hunter and Burge found 7 cases of Staphylococcus which originate on human skin. They say that over 11% of the bottles contained bacteria that are unlikely to have been present in the source water and conclude: 'at least in some cases standards of hygiene may not have been as high as one would hope'. These levels of contamination are clearly at odds with bottled water's clean image.

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

Related Articles