Dr S Elango, former director, Public Health, says that many packaged water brands tap the borewells in Kancheepuram and the water may be high in chemical and pathogenic elements like bacteria.
He says, “We carried out a study and discovered that packaged water is not particularly devoid of heavy metals like lead, chromium and iron, apart from pathogens and even radioactive material. When these heavy metals across the limits that is in milligrams, it can be extremely detrimental for health. For example, high levels of fluoride lead to conditions like dental fluorosis.”
The World Health Organisation has observed that waterborne diseases make up for a huge part of the global disease burden.
Elango adds that it is essential for one to know the contents of the water they consume regularly. He adds, “There are water testing facilities run by the State Public Health Department, apart from the one by the Tamil Nadu Water Supply and Drainage Board (TWAD) If you have been a particular brand of water, it would be best to test them for chemical and biological to ensure your safety.”
Dr K Kolandaisamy, director, Public Health and Preventive medicine, says that there is a need for creating awareness among the public. “The public is usually concerned about the quantity more than the quality. We have four labs run by the Public Health Department and the public can send their samples for testing for physical, chemical and biological contents at Rs 2,000 per sample in Chennai and Coimbatore. But the awareness is extremely low. The facilities are availed largely by packaged water companies who want to get the approval for ISI standards,” he says.
Doctors say that any kind of water is best when consumed after boiling, says Dr Sridevi Anantharaman, general physician, Apollo Hospitals, Vanagaram.
“The risk of contracting water-borne diseases is extremely high and I tell my patients to be wary of using water without boiling for cooking and drinking, whatever the source might be,” she says.
MORE THAN JUST H20
- Experts say that packaged water is usually sourced from borewells near Kancheepuram and maybe contaminated.
- The water could consist of heavy metals like lead, iron and chromium, apart from pathogens like bacteria.
- Doctors say whatever the source of water maybe, it is best to use boiled water for cooking and drinking.
- Water borne diseases constitute a huge part of global disease burden, says WHO.