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Press Release

Consumers Advised to Check for Potentially Contaminated Bottled Water
Public Information Office
(603) 271-9391

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Publish Date:
February 22, 2013

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 or call 603-271-4589.

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New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services
129 Pleasant Street | Concord, NH | 03301-3852

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