Published: June 5, 2019

    New Investigation Reveals Concerning Levels of Arsenic in Bottled Water

    Arsenic — popularly known as an odorless, tasteless poison in literature and lore — is a chemical element that is popping up the last place you’d expect: in bottled water.

    Consumer Reports Sounds Alarm on Arsenic in Bottled Water

    Consumer watchdog organization Consumer Reports recently released bombshell reports that are sadly unsurprising to water quality professionals: levels of arsenic exceeding federal limits were found in samples taken from many big brands of bottled water.

    Consumer Reports ultimately found that 11 brands of more than 120 tested had worrisome amounts of arsenic present in their bottled water. One such brand was Starkey Spring Water, a Whole Foods-owned bottled water brand that has had more than 2,000 cases of bottled water recalled from 2016 to 2017 for dangerous levels of arsenic.

    Keurig Dr. Pepper-owned bottled water brand Peñafiel tested for arsenic levels at 17 parts per billion (ppb). After the release of the report Keurig Dr. Pepper stated that it would suspend production of its bottled water in the company’s facility in Mexico until their filtration processes are overhauled.

    How Does Arsenic Get Into Bottled Water?

    Arsenic contamination happens naturally in the United States, finding its way into your water supply through methods like industrial and agricultural runoff. If you live near a manufacturing center, industrial plant, or large farm there is an elevated chance that arsenic can spread to your water supply, especially if you live in a rural community.

    Many people assume that bottled water is relatively pure, but in reality nearly half of bottled water is just tap water. In addition, bottled water does not have to comply with tap water quality standards because bottled water is classified as a food product, and therefore regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA does not regularly inspect water-bottling plants, and it does not require bottled water companies to reveal their water sources.

    So how does arsenic get into bottled water? The answer is simple: arsenic can contaminate tap water through multiple avenues, and the companies that bottle and sell bottled water aren’t adhering to proper filtration methods across the board.

    Arsenic Health Effects

    Arsenic is a known poison, and no amount of arsenic is safe to drink. Health problems that can occur from consuming miniscule amounts of arsenic include:

    • Stomach pain
    • Vomiting
    • Diarrhea
    • Blindness
    • Partial paralysis

    Consuming arsenic can increase your risk of developing several forms of cancer, including kidney, lung, bladder, liver, and skin cancer. Long-term exposure to arsenic can cause cardiovascular disease, organ failure, and even death.

    Consumer Reports is urging the federal government to lower the limit of arsenic in bottled water products from 10 ppb to 3 ppb to ensure consumers aren’t exposed to toxic heavy metals.

    Switch to Reusable Bottles

    The safest way to avoid arsenic in bottled water is to use a reusable stainless steel bottle and fill it up with filtered water before you leave the house. Cutting bottled water from your routine will also save you money and greatly benefit the environment by reducing plastic pollution.

    Filter arsenic from your tap water at home by installing a 6-Stage Reverse Osmosis Filter in your home — this system is NSF-certified to remove 99% of pentavalent arsenic from your drinking water! The RO system also filters lead, nitrates, fluoride, turbidity, copper, chromium, and other common contaminants to provide a great alternative to wasteful and potentially dangerous bottled water.