Mumbai: FDA studies bromate levels in packaged drinking water

Mumbai: After the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) had written a letter to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Maharashtra to look into the matter of packaged drinking water containing harmful substances like bromate. The senior FDA official said that they have started collecting water samples from various parts of the city to measure the micrograms of bromate used in drinking water.

Two years after researchers from Bhabha Atomic Research Center (BARC) found excess level of bromate, a potentially harmful chemical compound in more than 27 per cent of the packaged drinking water samples in Mumbai, FDA, Maharashtra has launched their own investigations in the last week of September.

A senior official said that before they did not have any standard levels to check the percentage of bromate used in packaged drinking water. “We have set forth guidelines for bromate levels in packaged drinking water to 10mlg/litre as per the existing international standards (World Health Organisation). The investigations are going on,” said Dr V K Pancham, Food and Safety Standards Authority of India official (Western Zone).

BARC study had put the levels of bromate in packaged drinking water in Mumbai at 10.7mlg/ltr. Researchers pointed out health risks (carcinogenic risk and hazard quotient) associated with ingestion of bromate, chlorite and chlorate present in packaged drinking water.

“Since there were no established guidelines for the necessary levels of disinfectant by products of packaged drinking water manufacturing, our previous surveys couldn’t yield specific results. Now, since FSSAI has communicated the guidelines, we have started collecting samples which will be tested to see the hazardous contents if any,” said Pallavi Darade, commissioner of FDA.

A complaint was filed on July 7, post the BARC study with National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) by a health activist in Mumbai, seeking appropriate action against the violators. While FSSAI was asked to submit a report within four weeks, the complaint was forwarded to Maharashtra FDA, asking them to investigate the issue and take necessary action.

The FSSAI has further forwarded the complaint to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on August 22 stating that they should investigate and take action as per provisions of FSS Act 2006 and allied rules and regulations.

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