There has been a fast invasion of bottled mineral water in the market, more and more brands are being introduced. There has been a growing use of mineral water in particular official and business meetings, seminars and conferences etc. The mineral water cost has also risen to the level of soft drinks in view of its demand. But how safe is this bottled mineral water in Pakistan where there are no checks and balances? Though there is the Ministry of Science and Technology, Pakistan Standard and Quality Control Authority as well as a Pakistan Council for Research in Water Resources which are directly and indirectly responsible for ensuring quality of all brands of mineral water through frequent checking, among other functions and duties but we have seen that such agencies don’t work or are thought to take a bribe to issue license without checking the products.According to print and electronic media, Pakistan Standard and Quality Control Authority had issued notices and filed cases against 59 companies manufacturing bottled water for not adhering to the quality standards. Furthermore, licenses of 12 companies were also cancelled and cases filed against them. In short, this means not all the bottled mineral water brands being marketed in different parts of the country are safe though still available.It would be advisable to use tap water or the filtered water as they are the safest and nearer to natural water. Big business houses and government offices should opt for using filtered water instead of displaying mineral water during their meetings. Water filter system may appear costly but human health is more precious to say the least. Official agencies checking and ensuring quality of bottled mineral water besides releasing quarterly reports to the print and electronic media should also publish advertisements giving particulars of the brands not found fit for human consumption as not all names of faulty manufacturers appear in the media for obvious reasons.DANIYAL NAJMI, Lahore, January 16.