Health Risk Assessment of Trace Metals in Bottled Water Purchased from Various Retail Stores in Pretoria, South Africa

Joshua Oluwole Olowoyo*, Unathi Chiliza, Callies Selala, Linda Macheka

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Bottled water is one of the fastest growing commercial products in both developing and developed countries owing to the believe that it is safe and pure. In South Africa, over the years, there has been an increase in the sale of bottled water due to the perceived notion that water supplied by the government may not be safe for human consumption. This study investigated the concentrations of trace metals and the physicochemical properties of bottled water purchased from various supermarkets (registered and unregistered) in Pretoria with a view to determining the health risk that may be associated with the levels of trace metals resulting from the consumption of the bottled water. Twelve commonly available different brands of bottled water were purchased and analysed for trace-metal content using inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS). The water samples were also analysed for various physicochemical parameters. The health risk was assessed using the target hazard quotient (THQ). For all the bottled water, the highest concentration of all the elements was recorded for Fe. The values reported for Cr, Ni and Pb were above the limit recommended by World Health Organization. The pH values ranged from 4.67 to 7.26. Three of the samples had pH values in the acidic region below the permissible standard of 6.8–8.0 set by the International Bottled Water Association (IBWA). The target hazard quotient calculated for the water samples showed a minimum risk for Pb, Cr and Ni. The study showed the need to adhere to a strict compliance standard considering the fact that South Africa has rich natural mineral elements, which may have played a role in the high levels of trace metals reported from some of the water samples.

Original languageEnglish
Article number15131
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number22
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2022


  • anthropogenic activities
  • bottled water
  • health effects
  • toxicity
  • trace metals


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