Tue, Feb 12, 2008 - Page 2 News List

EPA says water and food safety within regulations

TOXIC Six hotels, hostels or nursing homes were found to fall short of drinking water safety standards out of 2,203 cases investigated, an EPA sanitation official said


With the start of the Year of the Rat, Taiwanese are off to a good start with the country's water and food safety well within regulations and safety limits, the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) and Atomic Energy Council (AEC) yesterday said.

In the EPA's examination of schools last year, 100 percent of the water fountains and drinking facilities checked were within regulations, including 3,688 checked for regular maintenance, and 2,784 checked for water quality, EPA director-general of the department of environmental sanitation and toxic substance management Yuan Shaw-ying (袁紹英) said.

In addition, the AEC said the nation's drinking water from the tap or from bottles contained negligible alpha and beta radiation (lower than Minimum Detectable Activity (MDA)) based on the council's lab tests of the 23 water facilities as well as various brands of bottled water in the market.

"School drinking water safety is one of the EPA's priorities because it encourages school children to drink water instead of packaged drinks, which is beneficial both to their health and to the environment," Yuan said.

The administration has actively worked with the Ministry of Education to maintain water quality over recent years, he said.

The EPA has also mandated that all schools clean their water tanks and facilities within the first week of school, which starts today, he said.

He also said that the administration will post the water sampling results after examination.

In terms of public places other than schools, six hotels, hostels or nursing homes were found to fall short of drinking water safety standards, out of 2,203 cases investigated, he said.

The EPA has mandated the violators to improve their water quality within three months or face fines, he said.

In related news, the AEC's radiation monitoring center last year tested 160 samples of Taiwan's 11 most consumed foods, including rice, flour, fruits, fish, meats, eggs and milk in Taipei, Taichung and Kaohsiung, as well as seafood from Chiayi, Kaohsiung, Changhua and Hsinchu, and discovered gamma-rays, strontium-90 and iodine-131 levels in the tested foods to be at safe levels for consumption.

"In 2007, the strontium-90 and cesium-137 in all types of food examined were very close to the MDA level, while no iodine-131 was detected in milk," AEC said.

Both the EPA and the AEC said that they will continue to safeguard food and water safety for the protection of the public.

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