Is Manila Tap Water still contaminated with a “Cancerous” Bromate chemical?


“If you drink or cook with Maynilad and Manila Water tap water, you’ve probably ingested bromate contaminated water for at least nine months…” 

This is according to a post that is circulating right now in the social media that has reached more than 8,800 views and 7,500 shares (still counting) in Facebook. Citizens reacted with outrage and disappointment on this disturbing claim which is backed by the actual result of the study itself in a pdf form that you can download and print attached through as a link on the said post. On this post, the information or the pointers regarding the study has been summarized and listed and are reasonably alarming enough to need for our official’s action to be investigated and to be stopped if proven still existing. 

According to the statement which was based on this study (link/pdf file) made in 2012 by Homer Genuino from the University of Connecticut Department of Chemistry and by Maria Pythias Espino of the University of the Philippine Institute of Chemistry, the tap water from major places in Metro Manila contain bromate with levels “seven times” higher than the controlled limit by the Philippine regulatory authorities. This has caused fury and worries to many Filipinos as bromate has been classified as carcinogenic by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the International Agency for the Research on Cancer. The places they are saying here includes Pasig, Taguig, Pateros, Makati, Muntinlupa, San Juan, Parañaque, Valenzuela, Marikina, Caloocan, Pasay, Malabon, Las Piñas, Navotas, and the eastern part of Quezon City. 


Based on a Facebook post by a famous blogger titled “For the Motherland – Sass Rogando Sasot”, the study was conducted from October of 2006 to July of 2007 and was published in the peer-reviewed journal of Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology with, according to the social media post, the full acknowledgment and cooperation of the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS), Maynilad, and Manila Water. However, there was no record showing that they informed the public about this result and if they try to solve this very serious problem. 

Banned from places like Columbia, Canada, China, Brazil, South Korea, Peru, Australia, the European Union, Sri Lanka, Australia and possibly others, potassium bromate was proven to cause cancer in rats and mice. If used in making bread and similar products, it acts as an oxidizing agent that helps flour age rapidly but it also bleaches dough and improves its elasticity. It makes the flour fleecy, soft and white. And when used in disinfecting the drinking water, especially in a very high amount, many chemists and experts believe that it can really cause cancer to humans. According to an article by RJ Nieto / Thinking Pinoy: 

“Bromate, a contaminant of sodium hypochlorite solutions used for the disinfection of drinking water, is a suspected carcinogen. Manila Water and Maynilad, according to their respective websites, still use sodium hypochlorite.”

Photo: Sass Sasot FB

To quote from the said revelation in Facebook:

“Based on cancer-risk assessment studies, the maximum contaminant level allowed is 10 microgram per liter, as recommended by the World Health Organization, US Environmental Protection Agency, Drinking Water Commission of the European Commission, and the Philippine National Standard for Drinking Water. The first widespread independent scientific study of bromate concentration in tap water in Metro Manila found an average contamination of 66 microgram per liter, which is 7 times higher than maximum level set by cancer-risk assessment studies.”

Given all these information are scientifically backed by studies according to all the given proof, Filipinos need to ask these questions: is this cancerous bromate still present in the tap waters of Metro Manila? And if so, what is the government’s solution to this? Is it only present in Manila’s water? People need to be informed about the truth especially with regards to their health and safety. 


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