The water purification equipment that was used to purify drinking water in the United States during the US-Mexico border crisis is being sold by a California company and may be dangerous, US officials say.
Water purifier manufacturer and purifier maker, Aquatech, filed a complaint with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) over the equipment, which was used in at least two of the water purifying incidents, according to the company.
The company said it is concerned the equipment may have been used to spray disinfectant or other products into drinking water.
“We are very concerned that the equipment used to provide water purifcation may have the capacity to potentially harm human health and the environment,” Aquatech said in a statement on Wednesday.
“The equipment is manufactured in China and is not licensed to be used by the US,” the statement said.
“The company is also concerned that any other water purifications used by US law enforcement personnel may also contain potentially dangerous chemicals.”
The water purging equipment was not used to flush toilets or sanitise surfaces during the outbreak of the border crisis.
The equipment was used by Border Patrol agents who were using the devices to clean toilets at the Mexican border, a senior law enforcement official told Reuters.
“It’s a little bit like going to the beach and putting on your swim trunks and getting the water out,” the official said.
The incident has raised questions about the safety of the equipment and whether it was designed to be fully sterilised before use, said Joseph Senn, a water expert at the University of California, Davis.
The FDA has no authority to enforce US law on medical devices.
The agency’s statement said Aquatech has no information to support its claims that the device is safe.
“Aquatech has received FDA comments from several industry experts, who have all expressed concern about the use of the device, including safety issues,” the agency said.
“Given the history of contamination issues in the US border, we do not have a lot of confidence in the safety and efficacy of the product,” the FDA said.
It added that it is reviewing Aquatech’s response to the FDA’s concerns.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency has ordered all emergency operations at the US/Mexico border to be halted, and US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has suspended the use or sale of the Aquatech water purified equipment, the agency’s acting administrator, Michael Horowitz, told Reuters on Wednesday evening.
The device has been used by both US Customs officials and Border Patrol officials in several water puritisation incidents since November 2016.
The devices, which can be used in a number of different ways, are typically made from plastic tubing and can be found at local water purifyers and in local drug and alcohol treatment centres, according the US FDA.”CBP will conduct a thorough review of the safety, effectiveness and potential use of this equipment and will take any necessary corrective action to address the concerns of our employees and customers,” the company said.
Aquotech, which has more than 30 employees in the San Francisco area, said it plans to appeal the FDA order.
“This is an issue we are focused on taking to the US Supreme Court, but we believe this issue needs to be resolved in the context of a larger discussion on safety, efficacy and design,” the US company said in its statement.