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Physicochemical quality and health implications of bottled water brands sold in Ethiopia

Amogne, Wossen T.; Gizaw, Melaku; Abera, Daniel

The Journal Of The Egyptian Public Health Association: June 2015 - Volume 90 - Issue 2 - p 72–79
doi: 10.1097/01.EPX.0000466525.12773.22
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Background Water bottling companies often assert that their products are of the highest quality and are conforming to the standards.

Objectives The objective of the study was to assess the physicochemical quality of bottled waters consumed in Ethiopia and to compare the findings with the national and international water quality standards.

Materials and methods Eleven domestic and two imported bottled water brands were randomly purchased in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia at three different occasions from July 2013 to May 2014. A total of 39 composite samples were examined for aggregate parameters, major anions, and common cations in accordance with the procedures described in the standard methods.

Results We found that 7.7% of the samples were containing higher levels of alkalinity, hardness, total dissolved solids, pH, HCO3, Na+, and Ca2+ than the national standards and the WHO guidelines. However, the deviations from standards for all the above parameters were not statistically significant (one-sample t-test, P>0.05). Conversely, in some of the brands, some of the essential elements like Ca2+, K+, Mg2+, and F were found at very low concentrations. The rest of the parameters, including CO32−, SO42−, PO43− (orthophosphates), Cl, F, NO3, NO2, K+, Mg2+, Fe, Mn, Cr, Cd, Cu, Ni, and Pb were within the acceptable ranges in all the brands.

Conclusion and recommendations Bottled water brands containing very high concentrations of dissolved substances may pose health risks for individuals living with heart and kidney related problems. On the other hand, brands having chemicals lower than the optimum level may also harm the health of consumers who choose those brands as a sole source of drinking water. Thus, we suggest those responsible authorities to ensure regular monitoring and testing for chemical compositions of bottled water.

Environmental Health Research Team, Ethiopian Public Health Institute, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Correspondence to Wossen T. Amogne, MSc, Environmental Health Research Team, Ethiopian Public Health Institute, Patriots Street, PO Box 1242, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia fax: +251 112 754744; e-mail: wossentafere@gmail.com

Received January 17, 2015

Accepted May 15, 2015

© 2015 Egyptian Public Health Association
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