From Wikiislam:

In October 2005, the British Food Standards Agency issued warnings against "fraudulent" Zamzam water being commercially sold which contained dangerous levels of arsenic (over three times the legal limit recommended by the World Health Organization).

A brand of Zam Zam formally sampled by the London Borough of Westminster has been found to contain almost three times the permitted level of arsenic, which could contribute to increasing people's risk of cancer.

However, in May 2011, a BBC investigation found that, like the "fraudulent" Zamzam water being sold in 2005, genuine Zamzam water taken from the well also contained arsenic levels three times the legal limit.

In addition to the dangerous arsenic levels, the holy water contained high levels of nitrate and potentially harmful bacteria. [Samples from taps which were linked to the Zam Zam well and bottles on sale in Mecca] 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.

Question: Is this true?

Does it mean that we can't have Zamzam water because it will harm us and the Prophet forbade doing actions that would harm ourselves?


1 Answer 1


Bacteria issue: Zamzam water is sterilized and purified so this is a an end-of the line result not "source" related. I have seen documentaries on its purification. Zamzam Purification

Bacteria can grow in any tap due to stagnation. This is a common house issue often overlooked. The number of taps in Masjid Al Haram are high to handle higher seasonal pilgrim influx during Hajj. In low pilgrim influx season, they are prone to stagnation. The high environmental temperature in Makkah also enables bacterial growth.

Allow the water to flow for a few seconds. Try the same to run the taps for a few second to let the stagnated water out if you visit when you reach any hotel in off-season.

Arsenic Issue: Arsenic is naturally occurring in groundwater. The prescribed concentration value (PCV) for arsenic is very low in UK circa 10 micro gram per liter. Tap-water is a concern in Britain as well. Standards take time to become mainstream.

Some sources say in fresh water arsenic varies from 0-20 micro gram per liter. In marine environment you can get 50 micro gram per liter. Common table salt has it too in traces. All of this varies by origin and climate.

Things and standards get revised more often for the better. WHO had this value as 0.015 milligram per kg [15 micro gram per kg] body-weight in 1988 and then revised it to 2.1 micro gram per kg body-weight in 2011.WHO JEFCA evaluations

Saudi Standard still uses the 1988 value of 0.015 mg per kg body weight as late as GSO standard 2013. This is a difference in laws I guess. Your article also says "legal limit"

Example: Suppose I drink 1 Liter of Zamzam and my weight is 50kg. Zamzam (if this report is true) it will contain 30 [3x10] micro gram of Arsenic (3 times the legal limit). According to Saudi Law (and previous international guideline) for my 50kg body weight the limit for me would be 750 micro gram [50 x 15 micro gram]. Compare this with the 30 micro gram value. I can still drink 25 times more!

If you still feel a concern it write a letter to them to install an arsenic purification unit.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .