Is the shelf life of bottled water a cause for concern?

Thumbnail Image
Liee, Yvone Lieketseng
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Bottled water like any drinking water used for human consumption should be safe and wholesome to ensure adequate public health protection. This is due to potential health effects of concern such as endocrine disruption, toxicity teratogenicity, mutagenicity and carcinogenicity. Despite the number of regulatory bodies, publications on bottled water and speculations on its public health significance, many questions remain to be answered. One of the questions is whether the shelf life of bottled water is a cause for concern. The aim of the study was to determine the shelf-life of various commercial bottled waters by monitoring the variation in microbiological, chemical and aesthetic qualities of bottled water. A total of five commercial bottled water brands (A, B, C, D, E) each containing bottles from the same batch consisting of spring water, mineral water and bottled tap water were purchased directly after being bottled from different distributors around Gauteng in South Africa. All samples were stored at room temperature with artificial lighting and controlled temperature for a year thus mimicking typical conditions in retail outlets, supermarkets and in homes. Analyses were conducted over a period of 12 months, at monthly intervals. Within days of being purchased, high Heterotrophic plate counts (HPC) bacteria exceeding drinking water alert level >5 000 cfu/ml was common in four bottled water brands. Growth succession occurred during the period of study as various algal species were growing and accumulating on all bottled water tested. Total coliforms (TC), faecal coliforms (FC) and E.coli were not detected in all the bottled water tested. Yeasts and moulds were also not detected in all the bottled water. There were insignificant variations during the period of study for turbidity, pH, TDS, conductivity, and colour. These did not indicate any potential impact on aesthetic quality of bottled water. Two bottled water brands had hardness measures as low as 11mg/ℓ as CaCO3 making the water too soft which has an effect on taste. Radioactive substances, trihalomethanes, heavy metals, pesticides and other chemical contaminants were not found at levels that can be detrimental to human health.
Thesis. (M. Tech (Biotechnology, Faculty of Applied and Computer Science))--Vaal University of Technology, 2011.
Bottled water, shelf-life, Bottled water quality, Bottled water, microbiological analysis, Health concerns, bottled water, Bottled water, chemical analysis, Bottled water, radioactivity