The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Water tests under govt scanner

New Delhi, Feb. 5: The Centre today announced an inquiry into the claims that flawed testing norms set by the Bureau of Indian Standards are facilitating the sale of bottled drinking water containing pesticide residues.

The move comes a day after the Centre for Science and Environment, a non-government organisation in New Delhi, said it had found pesticide residues like DDT, malathion and others in several popular brands of bottled drinking water.

Food and consumer affairs minister Sharad Yadav ordered a four-member panel to look into the adequacy of standards as well as testing facilities and submit a report within three weeks. The panel has been asked to “affix responsibility and suggest remedial measures” if the CSE findings are confirmed.

Packaged drinking water companies said they get their products routinely tested and pesticides have never been detected in their samples. The CSE had accused the BIS of prescribing testing techniques that are not sensitive to detect pesticide levels even when they are present in water samples.

The inquiry panel will also compare the existing BIS standards with international standards for packaged drinking water.

The inquiry panel, chaired by Satwant Reddy, additional secretary in the ministry of consumer affairs, also includes Sudhir Chandra, deputy-director general in the ministry of health, S.K. Karmakar, former additional director general with the BIS, and Jayshree Gupta, director of consumer affairs in the BIS.

CSE investigators had bought samples of 17 brands of packaged drinking water in New Delhi and 13 brands in Mumbai and found that all brands, except one, contained pesticide residues.

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