The Management of Drinking Water Disinfection and Disinfection By-Products (DBPs) in China


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Early this year, MUJI announced a worldwide recall of its bottled water products after detecting excessive bromate contaminant, a disinfection by-product (DBP) generated during ozone disinfection. Although the products mentioned in the recall notice have never entered Chinese mainland, the news was quickly spread on social media Weibo and aroused much widespread concern over drinking water safety, whose market penetration of water purifier/disinfector is only about 20% and household water purifier market will keep a growth of over 10% until 2022. This article explains how the drinking water disinfectants and DBPs are regulated in China and the latest regulatory developments in drinking water quality standard, the GB 5749, which is closely related to the premarket approval of drinking water-related products.

The drinking water regulatory system stems from the “Law on the Prevention and Treatment of Infectious Disease” and the “Administrative Measures for the Sanitation Supervision on Domestic Drinking Water”. The production and marketing of drinking-water treatment/disinfection/delivery devices, chemical agents and protection materials should obtain the hygienic approval from health administrative departments at national or provincial level. Drinking-water-related products can be classified into existing products and new products by the “Criteria for determining water-related products using new material, new technology and new substances”, which specified the names and use scopes of 90 existing substances and treatment technologies and water-related products using these substances and technologies are approved by provincial departments. In some provinces, the review on homemade material and tubes is further delegated to city department.

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