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Environ Sci Technol. 2007 Mar 1;41(5):1560-3.

Contamination of bottled waters with antimony leaching from polyethylene terephthalate (PET) increases upon storage.

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Institute of Environmental Geochemistry, University of Heidelberg, INF 236, D-69120 Heidelberg, Germany.


Antimony concentrations were determined in 132 brands of bottled water from 28 countries. Two of the brands were at or above the maximum allowable Sb concentration for drinking water in Japan (2 microg/L). Elevated concentrations of Sb in bottled waters are due mainly to the Sb2O3 used as the catalyst in the manufacture of polyethylene terephthalate (PET(E)). The leaching of Sb from PET(E) bottles shows variable reactivity. In 14 brands of bottled water from Canada, Sb concentrations increased on average 19% during 6 months storage at room temperature, but 48 brands of water from 11 European countries increased on average 90% under identical conditions. A mineral water from France in PET(E), purchased in Germany, yielded 725 ng/L when first tested, but 1510 ng/L when it was stored for 6 months at room temperature; the same brand of water, purchased in Hong Kong, yielded 1990 ng/L Sb. Pristine groundwater containing 1.7+/-0.4 ng/L Sb (n = 6) yielded 26.6+/-2.3 ng/L Sb (n = 3) after storage in PET(E) bottles from Canada for 6 months versus 281+/-38 ng/L Sb (n = 3) in PET(E) bottles from Germany. Tap water bottled commercially in PET(E) in December 2005 contained 450+/-56 ng/L Sb (n = 3) versus 70.3+/-0.3 ng/L Sb (n = 3) when sampled from a household faucet in the same village (Bammental, Germany), and 25.7+/-1.5 ng/L Sb (n = 3) from a local artesian flow.

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