By Vinod Nair — MUSCAT: March 5 – Muscat Municipality has started a campaign, including cracking down on establishments found to be violating norms while storing and delivery drinking water. On Sunday, the civic body arrested several expatriates in this connection in Al Khuwair for storing and refilling bottled water (881 cans) in unhygienic conditions. As per the guidelines by the authorities, plastic water bottles should be not exposed to sunlight for fears of a chemical reaction that is harmful health.
The authorities said that consuming bottled drinking water is common both at home, workplace or any outdoor activities. While bottled drinking water is available in varied sizes at shops, supermarkets, restaurants and cafes, care must be taken to ensure that water is stored in refrigerators or otherwise in accordance with the health safety standards. Especially in hot countries, water distributors must ensure that there is minimum exposure of the plastic bottles to heat and sunlight, otherwise it may have serious impact on the human health.
Muscat Municipality prohibits transport of plastic bottled water in conditions where there are direct exposure to the sunlight in open trucks. It has been found that even in shops, bottled water is stored violating all health and sanitary safety conditions.
As per the law, soft drinks and water bottled drinking should be transported in tailor-made closed vehicles, with all details mentioned in the exterior. It should be also equipped with fire safety equipment. The vehicles must be kept clean at all times.
Last year at Muscat Municipal Council concerns were raised that drinking water cans are exposed to sunlight during transportation or stored in unclean conditions.
According to health experts, it is difficult to pinpoint a specific illness because water is transported in an unhygienic condition, but unsafe or impure water can cause several illnesses that have nothing to do with plastic.
It is believed that a chemical, called Bisphenol-A (BPA), is used to harden plastic and is found in water bottles and similar containers. BPA is an endocrine disrupter that interferes with our body’s hormones and cause health concerns, particularly in pregnant women, foetuses and young children. It could result in hyperactivity, increased aggressiveness and impaired learning.
On leaving bottled water inside a car, the US Food and Drug Association (FDA) said, “It is true that exposing the bottle to higher temperatures may imply a greater degree of migration of substances from the plastic to the water.”
According to the International Bottled Water Association (IBWA), PET plastics have been identified as safe and suitable for use with foods and beverages. It says there is no scientific evidence to prove consumption of water stored in plastic containers in warm environment can lead to illnesses such as breast cancer.