A bill regulating the bottled water business has been filed at the House of Representatives.

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Rep. Rufus Rodriguez (2nd District, Cagayan de Oro City) and his brother Rep. Maximo Rodriguez, Jr. (Party-list, Abante Mindanao) authored House Bill 1974 to address the increasing number of unregulated bottled water businesses which are operating in many parts of the country.

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“There is an urgent need to address this problem because there is a possibility that the bottled water sold in the market is not of superior quality as claimed,” Rodriguez said.

The measure, to be known as the “Safe Bottled Water Act of 2013,” will define the criteria in determining the adequacy as well as the protection of approved sources of bottled water.

“Consumers are paying premium prices for bottled water based on the assumption that it is of superior quality than their tap water,” Rodriguez said.

In filing the bill, Rodriquez cited Article 16, Section 9 of the Constitution, which provides that the State shall protect consumers from trade malpractices and from substandard or hazardous products.

“The State shall ensure that potable, safe and affordable drinking water is available to all the people by adopting a comprehensive policy framework to regulate the activities of mineral, carbonated and other bottled businesses including suppliers, distributors and sellers,” Rodriguez said.

At present, Rodriguez said there is no law regulating the bottled water business in the country.

Under the bill, the director of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) shall establish a monitoring program as stringent as that used for public water supplies to provide yearly testing and monitoring of unregulated contaminants, and undertake analysis or testing of bottled water sold in the market.

The bill also mandates the FDA to promulgate interim or revised national primary drinking water regulations concerning maximum contaminant levels applicable to all kinds of bottled drinking waters, including mineral, spring, natural sparkling water and vended water.

The bill mandates the Department of Health (DOH) to establish quality standards and definitions for mineral water and carbonated water to include limits for total dissolved solids, sulfate, sodium and trihalomethane, a group of chemicals that include chloroform and structurally related compounds, used industrially as refrigerants and solvents content.

Likewise, the DOH shall also establish and enforce clear, concise and uncoded uniform source labeling requirements for all bottled water products to include original source of water, type of water, type of treatment, date of bottling, address of the bottler and provide numerical specification of sodium content. PNA

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