Health Canada testing has detected bisphenol A (BPA) in some 18.5-litre polycarbonate bottles of drinking water, but it says the levels are low and pose no health or safety concerns.

Detailed reports on levels of the chemical in various products purchased last year in Ottawa were posted on the Health Canada website Thursday, says CBC News.

For the bottled water survey, researchers looked at samples of 54 different products sold under 21 brands by 16 companies. They were purchased in Ottawa stores in April 2008.

The containers were made of metal, glass, high-density polyethylene, polyethylene terephthalate and polycarbonate. Levels of BPA from the non-polycarbonate water products were below the “method detection limit” of 0.5 parts per billion. But bisphenol A was detected in 13 of 17 samples from four of the five polycarbonate bottled water products. Concentrations ranged from 0.5 to a high of 8.82 parts per billion, with an average of 1.5 parts per billion.

“Since migration of BPA from PC containers into water at room temperature is very slow, it is likely that the products with higher BPA were exposed to heat (e.g., under the sun) during storage and/or transportation,” the report said.

At a level of 1.5 parts per billion, an adult weighing 60 kilograms would have to consume about 1,000 litres of bottled water in one day to approach Health Canada’s provisional tolerable daily intake.

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