DWRF Responds to the Environmental Working Group’s study on bottled water quality
Dr. Stephen Edberg, professor in the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Internal Medicine at the Yale University School of Medicine, and director of the Clinical Microbiology Laboratory at the Yale-New Haven Hospital refutes an Environmental Working Group (EWG) study on bottled water quality and offers clarification to specific points below.
“Four brands had some bacterial contamination, as detected by either total coliform count or heterotrophic plate count (HPC) . . . Although the presence of bacteria detected by the HPC method does not give a direct indication of potential risk of water-borne diseases, it is a measure of overall bacterial contamination that occurs during bottled water production.”
HPC is a naturally-occurring bacteria. In 1992, the US Environmental Protection Agency considered using an HPC in its new total coliform rule. It found no association between these naturally occurring bacteria and human health. While in 2002, the World Health Organization concluded that HPC were natural and did not result in an adverse health effect.
“The study included assays for breast cancer proliferation, conducted at the University of Missouri. One bottled water brand spurred a 78% increase in the growth of the breast cancer cells compared to the control sample, with1,200 initial breast cancer cells multiplying to 32,000 within 4 days, versus only 18,000 for the control sample, indicating that chemical contaminants in the bottled water stimulated accelerated division of cancer cells.”