The poor quality of drinking water has forced a large cross-section of citizens to buy bottled water. As a consequence of this expanding market a mushroom growth of bottled water industry in the country is witnessed during the last few years. However, many of the mineral/bottled water companies were found selling contaminated water.
To monitor and improve the quality of bottled water, the Government of Pakistan through Ministry of Science and Technology has designated the task to PCRWR for quarterly monitoring of bottled/mineral water brands and publicize the results. According to the monitoring report for the quarter from January to March, 2018,
110 samples of Mineral/Bottled water brands have been collected from Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Peshawar, Multan, Lahore, Bahawalpur, Tandojam, Quetta and Karachi. Comparison of analytical findings with permissible limits of Pakistan Standards & Quality Control Authority (PSQCA) has revealed that 08 brands (i.e. Edlen Premium, Aqua Fine, Pure Aqua, Livon, Zam, Aqua Gold, Pure 18, and Aab-e-Noor) were found to be unsafe due to chemical and microbiological contaminations. Out of those unsafe brands, 1 brand (i.e. Aqua Fine) has comparatively high levels of Arsenic i.e 20 ppb than PSQCA water quality standard for arsenic (10 ppb).
The excessive level of arsenic can cause various types of skin diseases, diabetes, kidney diseases, hypertension, heart diseases, birth defects, black foot diseases and multiple types of cancers etc. The 4 brands (i.e. Zam, Aqua Gold, Pure 18, and Aab-e-Noor) were found to be unsafe due to microbiological contamination which may cause Cholera, Diarrhea, Dysentery, Hepatitis, Typhoid etc. Whereas 3 brands (i.e. Edlen Premium, Pure Aqua and Livon) were found unsafe due to the presence of higher levels of Sodium ranging from 57-60 ppm than PSQCA water quality standard for sodium (50 ppm).