Dubai: A batch of bottled water of an unspecified brand was recalled from the local market after the water was found to contain excessive amounts of bromate, a chemical formed during disinfection of water, the Ministry of Environment and Water (MoEW) announced yesterday.
The decision to recall the batch was taken by the General Secretariat of UAE Municipalities. MoEW is coordinating and following up with all municipalities across the country to ensure that bromate-contaminated bottled water is withdrawn from the market.
A statement issued by leading bottled water company Masafi and received by Gulf News confirmed the findings of the authorities. It stressed that given this information, the company has taken all the steps required to maintain the quality of its products according to the specified standards.
However, it is not clear whether the contaminated batch of water bottles is already withdrawn or is still in the market. Other local bottled water companies declined to comment.
Officials of at least two major supermarket chains said that they didn't receive any information or notice from the authorities regarding any recall.
"We haven't received any information from any authority. We aren't aware of any brand of bottled water that are contaminated and we are receiving and selling all popular brands as usual," said a senior official at Al Maya group.
A ministry statement said that it will make sure that UAE markets are free from these products until producing companies prove their compliance with specifications and introduce products that conform with specifications stating that bromate should not exceed 10 microgram per litre.
The ministry assured the public that a slightly excessive amount of bromate in drinking water does not pose a threat to human health.
Masfi yesterday sought to reassure customers that the quality of its water was beyond doubt. Masafi said: "We reassure that Masafi bottled mineral water is safe for consumption and does not pose any health risks. At Masafi, our commitment to the highest quality of our products remain our top priority for our consumers and their well-being. Our products are manufactured and packaged according to strict quality requirements."
Bromate in drinking water is undesirable because it is a suspected human carcinogen. Substances and exposures that are directly responsible to cause cancer are called carcinogens.
According to World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines for drinking water, bromate doesn't exist naturally in water, but forms during a disinfecting procedure called ozonation.
Bromate may also be formed in concentrated hypochlorite solutions.The guidelines say that, in most cases human exposure to bromate is unlikely to be threatening. However, it adds that if ozone is used to disinfect drinking-water, intake of bromate should be within the range of 120 to 180 microgram/day.