Chemicals linked to fireworks are present in tap water but at rates within safety limits, the Water Service Corporation said.

The corporation was reacting to recent media reports quoting scientific research by the University of Malta into the presence of perchlorate ‒ a harmful salt used in fireworks ‒ in Malta’s tap water.  

The research, conducted by university rector Alfred Vella and chemist Colette Pace, attributed the presence of perchlorate in water to Malta’s use of festive fireworks.

Reacting to the findings, the WSC confirmed that it had indeed found traces of perchlorate, however, these were 50 times lower than the limit set by the World Health Organisation. The level was even lower in tap water, the corporation added, assuring the public that this posed no health risks to the public.

“The WSC laboratory would like to outline a number of details, primarily that there is absolutely no cause for concern or alarm on this matter,” a spokesman for the corporation said. 

No health risks to the public

Regular samples of the island’s water supply are analysed by the WSC at its laboratory in Luqa, with results published online every month. 

The WSC’s tests show that nearly half – 46 per cent – of Malta’s groundwater sources contained trace readings of perchlorate.

The highest concentration of the chemical was 2.7 micrograms per litre.

The World Health Organisation says anything less than 50 micrograms per litre is perfectly safe for human consumption.  

Tap water tested by the WSC had an average of 0.7 micrograms per litre.

The laboratory employs a team of six scientists, 10 technicians, three samplers and five support staff. 

On a daily basis they ensure that several samples are collected and analysed from various sources such as reservoirs, pumping stations, village points and reverse osmosis plants.

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