expose of bottled water contamination
story is boiling up in the
new report by BBC TV News and BBC2’s Working Lunch has exposed the
alarming fact that
waters packaged in plastic bottles can absorb contamination from the
surrounding environment. The report which showed that bottled
waters absorbed a derivative of benzine after being stored next to
mothballs in just a few weeks, strengthens the argument that the UK
Government should not allow bottled waters to be promoted for use with
babies and that products should carry clear warnings.
Under EU legislation governments can permit bottled waters to carry a positive ‘suitable for infant feeding’ claim but the UK does not yet allow this. However, it is clearly under pressure from the booming multimillion dollar industry to allow such a claim. Baby Milk Action has been advocating that instead of allowing bottled waters to carry a positive claim of suitability, products which are NOT suitable for infants should be required to carry a warning to this effect. In the light of this new evidence, which the industry admits it is aware of, all bottled waters should also carry clear warnings about the risks of inappropriate storage. There is a possibility that the EU commission may ban such a warning as a barrier to trade.
There are multiple risks in allowing a positive ‘suitability for infants’ claim. Aside from the inherent risks of the water itself, parents may be led to believe that the product is better than tap water, they may assume the water is sterile and safe to use without boiling and that it is good to give babies water.
fact babies need nothing other than breastmilk (or properly constituted
infant formula) for the first six months of life.
promotion of bottled water for babies inevitably undermines the practice
of exclusive breastfeeding and promotes the unnecessary use of expensive
and environmentally harmful products.