MUSLIMS in Bolton are being urged to consider avoiding drinking sacred water during Ramadan — due to dangerous ingredients including arsenic and nitrates.

Zam Zam water comes from a special source in Saudi Arabia and under law cannot not be exported for sale.

But liquid labelled Zam Zam is on offer in the UK, or has been brought here, and tests have shown it may contain high levels of the poisonous substances, including almost three times the legal limit of arsenic.

There have been no reports of anyone in Bolton becoming ill but health chiefs are issuing a warning as a precaution.

Graham Munslow, health protection specialist for NHS Bolton, said: “While recognising the importance of Ramadan within the Muslim calendar, we are keen that Muslims are made aware of the possible health concerns related to drinking Zam Zam water.

“Tests have shown some Zam Zam water sold in the UK contains unacceptable levels of arsenic and nitrates, both of which can lead to significant health problems.”

The health risks include an increased chance of causing cancer.

People should consider avoiding it as there is no completely safe level of arsenic in water — the more consumed the higher the risk.

If anyone has occasionally had small amounts of the liquid the risk for adults and older children would be very low.

Infants may be more sensitive so it is not recommended they have any Zam Zam water.