Bottled water made by food and beverage giants Dr Pepper and Whole Foods contain dangerous levels of toxic arsenic, a new report reveals.
After questioning an internal report from Keurig Dr Pepper, a Consumer Reports investigation found the company’s Peñafiel water contains 70 percent more aresenic than US standards permit.
It takes a fairly high dose of the toxic metal arsenic to be fatal to humans, but it can accumulate in the body over time and cause cancer and diabetes.
Another five brands – including Whole Foods’s Starkey water, Crystal Geyser Alpine Spring Water, Volvic, Crystal Creamery and Earth H2O – also contained more arsenic than the lower figure Consumer Reports considers safe.
Whole Foods defended its water as ‘completely safe,’ but Consumer Reports is urging people to be wary of water products from the organic grocer and Dr Pepper.
Arsenic levels in organic grocer Whole Foods’s Starkey bottled water skate dangerously close to US federal limits, says Consumer Reports – and the agency says the EPA’s cap is too high
The healthy and organic grocer’s own brand of water had over three parts per billion (ppg) of arsenic in each bottle.
In the US, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) considers anything under 10 ppb to be safe.
But in tests of 130 different brands of bottled water, the new report found that 11 had detectable amounts of the heavy metal.
Arsenic is a naturally occurring element that often contaminates ground water in many countries including the US.
In a single, high dose, the substance can be fatally toxic.
Samples of Keurig Dr Pepper’s Peñafiel bottled water had an alarming 70 percent more arsenic than the EPA allows. The water is on import watch in the US, but Consumer Reports was able to purchase it easily
But long-term exposure to lower levels can cause skin lesions, and may cause skin, bladder and lung cancers, as well as raising risks of diabetes, developmental delays, heart and lung disease.
Plus, it raises risks of dangerous pregnancy complications for mothers and babies alike.
Getting arsenic out of water is one of the reasons bottled water is supposed to be safer.
But Consumer Reports’s findings suggest that buying bottles from a number of brands may not be any better than taking your chances with the tap.
Its independent tests on Whole Foods’s Starkey water earlier this month found arsenic levels varying between 9.48 and 9.98 ppb – just shy of the federal limit.
One sample, the report said, nosed past 10 ppb to 10.1 ppb.
But Whole Foods insisted in a Tuesday statement that it ‘would never sell products that do not meet FDA requirements.’
That may technically, nearly be true, but Consumer Reports is urging that even levels above three ppb should not be acceptable.
Meanwhile, Dr Pepper’s Peñafiel had 17 ppb in some tests – a 70 percent higher concentration than allowed by EPA regulations.
Peñafiel, which is made in and distributed from Mexico, is currently on an import watch due to its alarming arsenic levels.
But Consumer Reports investigators were ‘easily’ able to find and purchase the contaminated bottled water in brick-and-mortar stores and on Amazon.
The EPA told the watchdog group that it was taking ‘appropriate action.’
For its part, Keurig Dr Pepper temporarily halted production of the bottled water, but has not planned a recall.
Consumer Reports is urging the company to issue one and pleading with the FDA to change its standards.
‘It makes no sense that consumers can purchase bottled water that is less safe than tap water,’ said Consumer Reports chief scientific officer, Dr James Dickerson.
‘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.’