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Bottled water containers leak chemical

December 22, 2006 Toronto Star

OTTAWA—A study of bottled water has found concentrations of potentially harmful antimony increase the longer water is stored in a certain plastic.

A Canadian scientist now working in Germany tested 132 brands of bottled water from 28 countries in containers made of polyethylene terephthalate (PET). About 20 came from Canada.

William Shotyk of the University of Heidelberg found that concentration of chemicals such as antimony increases the longer the water sits in PET bottles. His study measured concentrations for up to six months; he plans to test the samples again in a year.

“It’s increasing over time because (the plastic) is leaching chemicals,” said Shotyk, while in Ottawa to lecture on the findings. He was cautious about implications for human health, saying more research is needed.

Antimony is a white metallic element that in small doses can cause nausea, dizziness and depression. In large doses, it can be fatal.

Most of the Canadian samples had initial antimony levels of about 160 parts per trillion, but six months after sitting in plastic the level had doubled. Still, levels were well below Health Canada standards of 6,000 parts per trillion.

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