State officials from the Department of Public Health have recently released a consumer advisory regarding possible contamination of water contained in 3-gallon and 5-gallon water bottles following a child's admission into hospital after drinking contaminated bottled water.
It is believed that some 3-gallon and 5-gallon bottles from poland spring and other companies have been contaminated with gasoline, after gasoline shortages following Hurricane Sandy may have led to residents in New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut to use these large water containers to transport gasoline before returning them to the bottling plants for refilling. Health officials advise the public to check any water bottles purchased after November 1st 2012 for potential gasoline odors before drinking the water contained in them.
While routine tests are conducted to detect this kind of contamination and prevent these bottles from being used to distribute bottled water, a few bottles appear to have slipped through undetected and have been put back into circulation. The contamination was detected by bottle companies after gasoline fumes and residues or fumes were found in some of the returned plastic water containers.
According to the Department of Public Health, a child from Essex County, MA fell ill this month after drinking contaminated water from a 5-gallon Poland Spring water bottle that originated from the Framingham bottling plant. The child was treated at a local emergency clinic and later released.
Gasoline contains a variety of toxic chemicals that can have damaging health effects after long-term exposure, including the following:
1. Benzene: which can cause anemia, a decrease in blood platelets, and an increased risk of cancer;
2. Chlorobenzene and Ethylbenzene: both of which can lead to liver and/or kidney problems;
3. Ethylene dibromide: which can cause problems with the liver, stomach, reproductive system, and/or kidneys, and an increased risk of cancer;
4. Toluene: which can cause problems associated with the liver, kidneys or nervous system;
5. Xylenes: which can damage the nervous system.
While the levels of exposure in this incidence are unlikely to cause any long-term health issues, exposure to traces of these chemicals can nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea if ingested.
The Department of Public Health advises anyone who detects a gasoline odor coming from their water bottle to contact their bottle supplier to arrange a replacement.
If you have one of these large bottled water containers, but also have a berkey water filter, you have another alternative as any berkey equipped with the black berkeys will filter these chemicals out of the contaminated bottled water for you.