NH DHHS - Consumers Advised to Check for Potentially Contaminated Bottled Water

Concord, NH - The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services

(DHHS) is recommending that people who have purchased 3-gallon or 5-gallon

water bottles from Poland Spring since November 1, 2012 open them and check

for possible gasoline odors before using the water. Clean water is odorless

and should not have any chemical smell. Poland Spring issued a statement

about this issue which can be found on their website at


After Super Storm Sandy struck the Eastern seaboard in October, some

gasoline shortages were reported in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut,

and some residents used empty containers such as large water bottles to

transport gasoline. In the past three months, bottled water companies have

detected and blocked from reuse an increased number of returned water

bottles found to contain gasoline residue or fumes. However, despite these

detection efforts, as well as disinfection and sanitization protocols, a

very small number of contaminated bottles are believed to have made it

through the detection process and back into consumer use. The exposure

levels involved are not likely to result in long-term health effects. DHHS

is working collaboratively with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and

other New England states on this issue.

“This contamination is not thought to be a widespread problem, but we want

to remind consumers that they should use their 3- or 5-gallon water bottles

only for drinking water,” said Dr. José Montero, Director of Public Health

Services. “Of course during a disaster we need to do what is necessary to

go on, but contaminated water bottles should be discarded.”

If you find a water bottle with an odor, do not drink or use the water.

Instead, call your bottled water provider to make arrangements to get a

replacement. If you have health concerns contact your health care provider.

Bottled water that is not in 3-gallon or 5-gallon containers is not

affected by this issue.

For more information about bottled water regulations in New Hampshire,

please see http://www.dhhs.nh.gov/dphs/fp/beverage/ or call 603-271-4589.