§ Mr. Home Robertson
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what level of benzene contamination is acceptable in drinking water; and what are the standards required in Britain, the rest of the European Economic Community and the United States of America, respectively.
§ Mr. Heathcoat-Amory
The Water Supply (Water Quality) Regulations 1989, which incorporate the requirements of the EC drinking water directive, set a standard of 10 microgrammes per litre for dissolved or emulsified hydrocarbons, which includes benzene; however, the regulations do not contain a specific standard for benzene. The World Health Organisations guideline value for benzene in drinking water is 10 microgrammes per litre and the United States maximum contaminant level is 5 microgrammes per litre.