NEW DELHI: The country is facing a serious water crisis of a different nature. RO (reverse osmosis) filter machines available in India are sold without the mandatory certification of the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), making the water they treat potentially dangerous to health.
BIS rules mandate that any product sold in India, which relates to the safety of the consumer needs the ISI mark. The BIS in its wisdom has omitted to include ROs from its list, though many big bottled water companies have got the necessary ISI certification.
Acting on a petition from an NGO, ‘Friends’, the National Green Tribunal has sought a response from the Ministry of Water Resources and other concerned bodies. RO companies, which aggressively market their products with celebrities offering 100 per cent pure water, do not state the water does not meet the approval of the certifying authority.
On the RTI question whether the RO companies have applied for certification, BIS said that queries on the matter have been sent to various departments.
The petition said that though the BIS has failed to set the minimum level of Total Dissolved Solids (TDS), it has specified the maximum level.
TDS is the dissolved ionized solids, such as salts and minerals in water. BIS has stipulated the upper limit of TDS in drinking water at 500 ppm. The lower level is 30 ppm to keep the mineral content at safe levels. De-mineralised water is mostly used in batteries and various industrial works.
The petition points out RO manufacturers are blatantly flouting the statutory BIS rules which state that “all RO manufacturers should write on their products that ‘RO system is not recommended for Arsenic level above 0.01 mg/l and flouride level above 8.0 mg/l’.”
With water in Indian homes coming from questionable sources and containing various toxic substances and chemicals, there is no guarantee that ROs have the capability to treat it to meet health safety standards, thanks to BIS.