Pesticides and other contaminants detectable in almost every third mineral water

Together with the Federal Environment Agency, Global 2000 tested 21 conventional Austrian mineral waters for their purity.
The result: pesticides and their breakdown products were detectable in four mineral waters. Another product contained traces of the artificial sweetener acesulfame-K, another small amounts of the anti-corrosive agent benzotriazole. The good news: 15 of the 21 mineral water brands tested were free of detectable contamination.

Sources in Burgenland and Tyrol affected

The measurement results indicate that two sources were contaminated with traces of pesticides. One is in Kobersdorf in Burgenland at a depth of 200m and produces the mineral waters "Waldquelle" and "clever Urquelle", both of which were contaminated with the pesticide metabolite Metazachlor-ESA, in the case of the "Waldquelle" even at the drinking water limit. The other source is located near Brixlegg in Tyrol and brings to light, among other things, the mineral water brands "Alpquell Tirol" and "s-Budget Astoria". Both contained traces of the pesticide metabolite N, N-dimethylsulfamide. “It is well known that pesticides can endanger groundwater. As early as 2010, the Federal Environment Agency found pesticide contamination above the drinking water limit value of 0.1 µg / l in 40% of the groundwater measuring points examined as part of a special measurement program. However, we did not expect that pesticides would penetrate into the stony depths of the Austrian mineral water springs ”, says DI Dr. Helmut Burtscher, environmental chemist at GLOBAL 2000. “Today we are confronted with the consequences of an agricultural policy that has failed to curb the growing dependence of cultivation methods on chemical aids. Groceries got cheaper and cheaper. However, the pollution of our drinking water supplies with these substances is a high price that not only we have to pay, but also our children! A rethink is required. "

Sugar additive or anti-corrosion agent found in Preblauer and Montes

Austria's water is not only threatened by agricultural emissions, but also by substances that cannot be filtered out, or cannot be filtered out sufficiently, by sewage treatment plants and which obviously also penetrate deep groundwater, as the tests show. The artificial sugar substitute acesulfame comes among others. in soft drinks, here increasingly in "light" products. After consumption, this substance is excreted almost unchanged, can pass through conventional sewage treatment plants undamaged and is thus returned to the water cycle. Acesulfame was found in the Carinthian medicinal water "Preblauer". The anti-corrosion agent benzotriazole used in dishwasher tabs is also not retained by sewage treatment plants. Small amounts of it were found in the Tyrolean mineral water "Montes".

"Original purity" threatens, but not health

The Mineral Water Ordinance requires that mineral water be of "original purity". However, the results of the investigation show that this original purity is threatened by inputs from agriculture and municipal sewage. "These substances have nothing to do with groundwater and absolutely nothing in mineral water," says Dr. Gundi Lorbeer, Head of Substances and Analyzes at the Federal Environment Agency. "Due to the low concentrations that we measured in the Federal Environment Agency laboratory, the all-clear for consumers can be given: there is no health risk when drinking the mineral water!"

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