On 5 May 2011 , BBC reported that holy drinking water contaminated with arsenic was being sold illegally to Muslims by UK shops (Muslim bookshops) in Wandsworth, south-west London, and Upton Park, east London, as well as in Luton, Bedfordshire.
Contaminated 'Zam Zam' holy water from Mecca sold in UK
"Zam Zam" water is taken from a well in Mecca and is considered sacred to Muslims, but samples from the source suggested it held dangerous chemicals.
The president of the Association of Public Analysts said he would "certainly would not recommend" drinking it.
"The water is poisonous, particularly because of the high levels of arsenic, which is a carcinogen," said Dr Duncan Campbell, president of the Association of Public Analysts.
The BBC asked a pilgrim to take samples from taps which were linked to the Zam Zam well and to buy bottles on sale in Mecca, to compare the water on sale illegally with the genuine source.
These showed high levels of nitrate and potentially harmful bacteria, and traces of arsenic at three times the permitted maximum level, just like the illegal water which was purchased in the UK.
Dr Yunes Ramadan Teinaz, an environmental health officer who has previously warned about "Zam Zam" water, said it was "a sensitive matter".
"People see this water as a holy water," he added.
"They find it difficult to accept that it is contaminated but the authorities in Saudi Arabia or in the UK must take action," he said. [BBC]
Fake Zamzam water sale thriving along highways
MAKKAH: A large number of illegal foreigners and some Saudi citizens have made selling fake Zamzam water a lucrative profession. They mix the holy water with ordinary water and sell the mixture as pure Zamzam water.
The fake water may have adverse health effects that can be perilous for the users. The sellers of fake Zamzam water are spreading along the highways, around the exits and entries of Makkah, and near the holy mosques. They continue their illegal trade without heeding the concerned authorities that are always after them.
Arab News made a tour of the places where fake Zamzam water is put for sale. The tour started at the central area of the Haram in Al-Ghazzah area, where many people from the African communities practice this illegal profession. They buy new empty gallons in various colors, put a small quantity of Zamzam water in them and fill the rest with plain water. They do the mixing of water in far away places and then bring their products to Al-Ghazzah area with its concentration of pilgrims and visitors. Their selling operation continues 24 hours a day, but they run away and hide whenever a security team is spotted.
In Kudai area, which has a pumping station for Zamzam water, a number of Africans, Burmese and Bangladeshis fill their gallons with Zamzam water. They empty part of the gallons in other containers, fill them with ordinary water, and sell the mixture to the salesmen around the Jeddah-Makkah Expressway. Evidently, they do this illegal job away from the eyes of the passport police.
Along the expressway, particularly near the gas stations around Makkah exits, are some groups of people selling their fake water round the clock. They put their gallons on small trucks parked there, after covering them with cloth. They leave for their homes at night and return next day to continue their job. The Zamzam water may be exposed to direct sun rays and to dust, making the fake holy water unhygienic.
Sellers of the fake Zamzam water may make more than SR400 a day, going up to SR600 during weekends and school summer vacation. A large gallon of the mixed water is sold at SR15, the medium at SR10, and the small at SR5. They buy the Zamzam water from the pumping station at SR2 a gallon.
Consultants and doctors specialized in chest diseases warn against the risk of such water, which may cause various diseases including diarrhea and typhoid. They advise all interested purchasers to buy directly from the filling factory. [Arab News]
Zamzam Water is Safe to Drink
British reports have come out claiming that the Holy water of Zamzam is poisonous and contains high levels of arsenic and other pollutants!
The reports came after BBC London tested samples of Zamzam water*.
The ministry of Hajj released a statement today rebuking the reports and stating that the water is tested regularly by the Group Laboratories CARSO-LSEHL in the French city of Lyon, and who are authorized by the French Ministry of Health to work in the analysis of drinking water.
The latest tests were conducted in March and the reports revealed that "According to drinking water standards in France and based on the analysis conducted on the samples of Zamzam water, this water is fit for human consumption."
The samples that were tested by BBC, might have come from bottled water being sold in the UK as being Zamzam water.
The BBC investigated and discovered Zamzam water was being sold by Muslim bookshops and mini markets around the UK.
The Saudi Embassy in London assured that Saudi Arabia has not exported Zamzam water and that the presence of people in the United Kingdom engaged in the trade of selling Zamzam water is the responsibility of the British authorities in dealing with them.
It pointed out that writing on the bottles the words of Zamzam water does not mean that they contain Zamzam water which is pure and that comes from the source in Mecca.
It's true, not every bottle of water that has Zamzam written on it means it has come from the well of Zamzam in Mecca! It could be water from God knows where and bottled by God knows who!
I think the BBC should have been more patient before releasing the report and should have been more accurate. They should have taken actual samples from the Zamzam well in Mecca! [waleg.com]