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How safe is your water purifier?

As more households in metro cities switch to water purifiers due to scarcity of potable drinking water, experts are worried about the lack of stringent standards for the equipment.

"In India, unlike producers of natural mineral water and packaged drinking water who are required to meet BIS standards, there is no such mechanism for ensuring safety of potable water purification devices,"says consumer expert Bejon Mishra.

Most developed countries like the US (Environment Protection Agency), European countries (European Chemicals Agency) and Australia have their own regulatory bodies for monitoring safety of all types of drinking water.

Mishra, who carried out a study on'Safety of Storage water purifiers', commissioned by NGO Healthy You Foundation, notes that a regulatory mechanism is most needed in case of chemical-based water purifiers.

"Generally chemical-based purifiers cannot remove dissolved solids from water and thus not recommended in areas with high hardness or other dissolved solids,"he says.

Agrees S Krishnan, President of Healthy You Foundation,"There is a great risk of formation of disinfection by-products, even in the most commonly used disinfectant -- Chlorine. It can lead to adverse health effects in the long run, ranging from metabolic disorders to renal failure and cancer."

Mishra rues that the branded players fall short of adequate disclosure requirements like the type of chemicals used, life of filters and other components."There should be a comprehensive mandatory labelling based on international best practices.
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