To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent checks have been carried out on bottled water to determine levels of (a) pesticides, (b) nitrates and (c) endocrine disrupting chemicals; and if she will make a statement.
All bottled water sold in the United Kingdom must comply with the Natural Mineral Water, Spring Water and Bottled Drinking Water Regulations 1999. Compliance with these Regulations is monitored by local authorities. Bottled waters other than natural mineral waters have to meet limits for chemical and microbiological parameters, and are subject to the same sampling regime (based on volume of water) as water from public supplies. Natural mineral waters must come from a recognised source. In order for recognition to be granted the source must be protected from all risk of pollution. After recognition is granted, local authorities monitor the source to ensure that requirements for recognition continue to be met.
The Government's programme of surveys for chemicals in food includes tests on bottled water as appropriate. The most recent tests for pesticides were in 2000, when no traces of pesticide residues were found in 50 samples of bottled water. During the last five years the programme has not included any tests on bottled waters for nitrates or for endocrine disruptors (other than those included in the pesticide survey).