Tests for the watchdog organisation, Consumer Focus Scotland, found potentially dangerous bacteria in drinking water dispensers used at workplaces, schools and care homes.
The dispensers need to be better cleaned and maintained, the group says. The Scottish government, along with the Food Standards Agency, should also review existing legislation because it is difficult to enforce.
Environmental health officers discovered bacterial contamination in 23 out of 87 water dispensers sampled in Edinburgh, Lothian and Borders. They tested for five types of bacteria known to cause illness, particularly in people who are vulnerable due to frailty or ill health.