Bromate is not naturally found in ground water. Conversion of bromide to bromate upon ozonation may be affected by natural organic matter, pH and temperature, among other factors.
A 1999 study by the International Agency for Research on Cancer had revealed that potassium bromate could be a possible human carcinogen. Laboratory studies on animals exposed to this toxin have also concluded that ingestion of Bromates resulted in a significant increase in the incidence of cancer of kidneys, thyroid and other organs.
Bromate- induced Cancer reported in rats
Rats were given drinking-water containing 0, 0.25 or 0.5 (reduced to 0.4 at week 60) mg of potassium bromate per litre (reported as 0, 12 and 33 mg of bromate per kg of body weight per day) for 110 weeks.
Statistically significantly increased incidence of renal tumours (both adenomas and adenocarcinomas) was noted in treated males and females in both dose groups. The incidence of peritoneal mesotheliomas (tissue of origin not identified) was significantly increased in males in both dose groups, compared with controls. It was concluded that potassium bromate was carcinogenic in both male and female rats (Kurokawa et al., 1983).
FSSAI Needs to ban Bromate in Packaged Water similarly to Bread in India
India’s food regulator FSSAI’s explanation of permitting Bromates (up to 10 microgram per litre of drinking water) in packaged water is strange as it says that it was based on “ground realities” that this contaminant might, in any case, be found in water in some cases.
It is true that when ozone is used as a reagent to disinfect water, some amount of bromate tends to develop. But ozone is no longer the only disinfecting agent available now. Commercial houses which process and package water for discerning and quality-conscious consumers can surely afford to use less hazardous, even if more expensive, methods to decontaminate water.
We urge the FSSAI to take swift action to ban Bromates in packaged water in India similar to its fast action on bromates in Bread; because water is essential to life and millions of Indians are exposed to this carcinogen.
“Ground realities” can not and should not be a reason for India to adopt bromate in drinking water standards that are inferior to the standards in the European Union or elsewhere in the developed world.