June 18, 2024

Consumer Reports Finds Arsenic in Bottled Water

Consumer Reports has found arsenic at unsafe levels in some brands of bottled water. The organization is urging the government to recall those brands and to implement better federal standards for this product.

Consumer Reports Finds Arsenic in Bottled Water

Many people around the country rely on bottled water because their tap water doesn’t taste good or they don’t trust its quality. Unfortunately, bottled water can have issues and be contaminated with unsafe compounds.

One of those compounds is arsenic. Arsenic is found everywhere, in the soil, air, and water, and it is found in groundwater, the source for many bottled water brands. The World Health Organization (WHO) says that, when ingested, arsenic can cause arsenic poisoning, skin cancer, developmental problems, memory problems, diabetes, pulmonary disease, and cardiovascular disease. The type of arsenic to be most concerned about is inorganic arsenic, which does pollute groundwater in this country.

In 2016 and 2017, Starkey Water, which is sold as a Whole Foods brand, was recalled because it contained arsenic that was over the federally mandated threshold of 10 parts per billion (ppb). In 2018, Consumer Reports states that internal tests at Whole Foods showed that the water was just under the federal limit. Unfortunately, that level of arsenic is still harmful if someone drinks a lot of bottled water.

Dr. James Dickerson, chief scientific officer at Consumer Reports said, “It makes no sense that consumers can purchase bottled water that is less safe than tap water. If anything, bottled water—a product for which people pay a premium, often because they assume it’s safer—should be regulated at least as strictly as tap water.”

Consumer Reports believes that the threshold for arsenic in bottled water should be 3 parts per billion, not 10. Studies show that health risks from arsenic can occur at levels below 10 ppb, especially in children. And the effects are cumulative.

In their tests, the organization found that 11 brands that either self-reported, or tested, higher than 3 ppb. They are Starkey (owned by Whole Foods), Peñafiel (owned by Keurig Dr Pepper), Crystal Geyser Alpine Spring Water, Volvic (owned by Danone), and two regional brands, Crystal Creamery and EartH₂O. Two brands of imported water, Jermuk from Armenia and Peñafiel from Mexico are on an import alert. But Consumer Reports was still able to buy them in two states and through Amazon. Bottled water brands with lower arsenic levels include Aquafind, Evian, Kirkland, Niagara, Poland Spring, Dasani, and Propel.

Companies can remove arsenic from water, according to Consumer Reports. The product is not consistently regulated. Guidelines can vary from state to state.

To protect yourself, Consumer Reports recommends that you check their charts for the bottled water brand you buy. You can also buy a reverse osmosis filter, but that is expensive. If you drink tap water, have it tested.


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