FDA: Bottled water does not need regulation

July 10, 2001 in Nutrition Topics in the News

FDA: Bottled water does not need regulation

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced last week that they will not need to issue regulations for the bottled water industry regarding the removal of Cryptosporidium from their products. Cryptosporidium is a protozoan found in the intestines of birds, reptiles and some mammals, including humans. The parasite can be transmitted in contaminated water, causing cryptosporidiosis, a gastrointestinal illness with symptoms such as abdominal cramps and diarrhea that can last for weeks.

The reasoning for the FDA's decision is largely based on the fact that the water sources used for bottled water, namely ground water, are not likely to contain Cryptosporidium. Approximately 75% of bottled water sold in the United States originates from ground water (e.g. artesian well water, spring water, mineral water). The other 25% of bottled water comes from public water sources--essentially tap water—which is already subject to the guidelines set in place by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to ensure the safety of the drinking water; including limits on Cryptosporidium.

During the past two decades, Cryptosporidium parvum has become recognized as one of the most common causes of waterborne disease (drinking and recreational) among people in the US. The parasite is found in every region of the United States and throughout the world, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The very young, the elderly and those with compromised immune systems are considered to at greatest risk for the illness.

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