Concerns Over Lead Reports Boost Bottled Water Sales in Israel
Recent reports about the presence of lead in some of the country’s drinking water and the health risks associated with it have created a spike in sales of bottled mineral water.
According to the StoreNext retail data firm, since TheMarker initially disclosed water-quality data from the Israel Standards Institution earlier this month, there has been an 11.8 percent increase in the sales of bottled mineral water.
This comes on the backdrop of what have already been steady increases in mineral water sales in the country – up by 0 percent since 2011 and by 5 percent in 2016 alone.
The major food retailers and smaller corner groceries alike have all been seeing similar increases in bottled water sales since the news about the lead in tap water; all the major mineral water brands have also been experiencing similar sales jumps since those reports broke.
StoreNext reported that sales of Neviot mineral water (a brand of the Central Bottling Company, the local Coca-Cola licensee) jumped 14.8 percent; Mei Eden sales have been up 11.6 percent; and sales of Jafora-Tabori’s Ein Gedi brand have risen 9.4 percent during the period from February 1 to 18.
News of tainted water followed the Health Ministry’s disclosure on January 18 that samples of water taken from espresso machines at some cafes had prompted concern about the presence of lead.
A report prepared by the Health Ministry in 2013 that was recently made public took issue with what had been the ministry position – that the presence of lead in lower concentrations than the maximum allowed amount was not dangerous.
"The main concern in such cases is harm caused by lead to the fetus’ developing nervous system, and studies have demonstrated that even [exposure to] very low concentrations [of lead] in pregnant women can cause damage to children’s intelligence and behavior.
Such exposure during pregnancy can also cause miscarriage and stillbirth,” he adds.
During the last three decades of the 20th century, studies showed that long-term effects of lead could ensue among children even after exposure to very small amounts of the substance that caused no symptoms initially.