BRUSSELS -(Dow Jones)- Natural mineral water could be damaging to health, and water companies may need to invest to remove harmful substances from their products, the European Union Commission said Thursday.
The Commission proposed maximum levels on 15 substances – including fluoride, nickel and lead – that occur in mineral water. It said most of the restrictions should go into effect Jan. 1, 2006.
“Some producers of natural mineral waters will need to invest heavily,” the Commission said in a statement.
The Commission said the 15 substances present a long-term health risk.
The Commission report mentioned no specific brands of mineral water. European companies such as Nestle SA (Z.NES) and Groupe Danone SA (DA) are world leaders in the field.
Nestle, which produces Vitel and Perrier, said it was studying the proposed legislation.
In addition to the limits on some substances, water companies will be forced to print on the label mention of whether they filter out undesirable substances.
Mineral waters containing more than 1.5 mg/l of fluoride must state that the water isn’t suitable for regular consumption by babies and young children, the Commission said.