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Could toxic materials be lurking in your bottled water?

Few things in life may be easier than simply grabbing a bottle of water and tossing it into a lunch box or gym bag for later that day. However, this simple act could potentially be putting many Ohio consumers at risk for contracting a possibly deadly bacterium. Niagara Bottling LLC recently issued a recall of its bottled water products after receiving evidence that there were possible toxic materials in some of its source springs.

Niagara Bottling provides several different generic brands of bottled water, including 7-Eleven and Wegman's brands. The company claims that it was initially unaware of a possible E. coli contamination at one of its springs, and that the spring's operator failed to disclose this information. Once Niagara discovered this, it issued a voluntary recall of the affected water bottles and provided customers with instructions for reading the date that the product was bottled. 

Niagara claims that it conducts routine tests on all of its spring water, but it is unclear how the initial evidence of an E. coli contamination was suppressed. It also routinely disinfects and filters the water before bottling to ensure that only water makes it into the final product. Thus far, it claims that there have been no injury-related consumer reports or other evidence of E. coli at the affected plants.

It can be especially risky when toxic materials or other contaminants make their way into food, as these products are ingested rather than used as other products might be. Consumers in Ohio and across the nation must place an enormous amount of trust in food and drink manufacturers to provide safe products on which they can depend. When victims fall ill because of tainted products, the manufacturer could potentially be on the hook for financial damages. However, in order to actually receive any possible compensation, victims must typically successfully navigate a product liability claim.

Source: CNN, "14 brands of bottled water recalled due to possible E. coli", Ben Brumfield, June 23, 2015

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