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The great Perrier non-event.


The recent Perrier-benzene flap has doubtlessly become known by now even to the citizenry of the innermost regions of Mongolia. What is not so well-known is exactly how benzene's presence became known in some samples of the mineral water. It seems that a North Carolina laboratory had used Perrier for some time as a standard against the purity of the local water supply. What a shock it must have been--both locally and, eventually, around the world--to suddenly find that its standard was contaminated.

As it turned out, the benzene did not originate in the mineral water itself, but from dirty filters used for processing the carbon dioxide added to the water to give it its fizz. The solution was simple--clean the filters; voila, pure Perrier once again. The absurdity of the situation was that, given the minute quantity of benzene in the contaminated supplies, one would have to have drunk many gallons of the stuff every day for years for it to have even a potential hazard. And at the price of Perrier, the risk was clearly nil. Nonetheless, because of the negative publicity, every bottle of Perrier worldwide was withdrawn from the market.

The moral of the story? None that we can think of. Spring water such as Perrier is no more healthful, pure or "natural" than the kind that comes out of the tap in most homes, but if one wants to pay an absurd price for a funny-shaped little bottle that came all the way from France, who are we to take issue? If you can't afford Perrier, and your tap tastes "off," why not use an inexpensive filtering device such as the "Innova," which fits neatly in the fridge and provides gallons of tasty, crystal-clear water right from your tap at only a few cents a gallon? No more bottles to haul from the supermarket! And if you like your water to fizz, just pour the filtered water into a seltzer bottle using carbon dioxide cartridges. Voila--pseudo-Perrier!
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Title Annotation:presence of benzene in Perrier water
Publication:Medical Update
Date:Jun 1, 1990
Previous Article:Perchance to dream.
Next Article:Nothing's so rare as a day in June - without carbon monoxide.

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