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Food Safety Focus (153rd Issue, April 2019) – Food Incident Highlight

Bromate in Bottled Water

A recent recall of bottled drinking water due to the detection of bromate has drawn attention to safety issues of the substance.

Bromate is formed when ozone is used to disinfect water, reacting with naturally occurring bromide in water.  The formation of bromate is influenced by a number of factors such as bromide ion concentration and pH value of the water, the amount of ozone and the reaction time used for disinfection.  If taken in by large amounts, bromate can cause nausea, diarrhea, vomiting and abdominal pain.  The kidney and nervous system also can be affected in severe cases.  The World Health Organization has set a limit of 0.01 miligram/litre for bromate in drinking water and considers that a level within the limit is unlikely to pose any significant health threats.