|NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced on
Tuesday that they will not need to issue regulations for the bottled water industry
regarding the removal of Cryptosporidium from their products.
Cryptosporidium is a
protozoan found in the intestines of birds, reptiles and some mammals, including humans.
The parasite can be transmitted in contaminated water, causing cryptosporidiosis, a
gastrointestinal illness with symptoms such as abdominal cramps and diarrhea that can last
The reasoning for the FDA's decision is largely based on the fact that the water
sources used for bottled water, namely ground water, are not likely to contain
"According to industry information, approximately 75% of bottled water sold in the
United States originates from ground water (e.g. artesian well water, spring water,
mineral water)," indicates a notice issued by the FDA.
The other 25% of bottled water comes from public water sources--essentially tap
water--which is already subject to the guidelines set in place by the Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA) to ensure the safety of the drinking water; including limits on
"FDA has evaluated the treatment technique requirements for the reduction of
Cryptosporidium in public drinking water established in EPA regulations and finds that a
standard of quality regulation for bottled water to reduce Cryptosporidium is not
necessary to protect the public health," the announcement notes.
In 1998, the EPA finalized its ruling as part of the National Primary Drinking Water
Regulations that required public water suppliers who used surface water--lakes, reservoirs
and rivers--or ground water in contact with surface water, to limit the levels of
Cryptosporidium in tap water.
By law, the FDA, which oversees the regulation of bottled water, is required to mandate
all applicable EPA regulations for tap water and apply them to bottled water.
During the past two decades, Cryptosporidium parvum has become recognized as one of the
most common causes of waterborne disease (drinking and recreational) among people in the
US. The parasite is found in every region of the United States and throughout the world,
according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The very young, the elderly and those with compromised immune systems are considered to
at greatest risk for the illness.