Arsenic found in water bottle brands sold at Walmart, Target and Whole Foods; company pulls product

California nonprofit Center for Environmental Health has revealed that water bottle brands Peñafiel and Starkey contain levels of arsenic that are above the legal limit.

Peñafiel is owned by Keurig Dr. Pepper and Starkey is owned by Whole Foods. Peñafiel is sold at Target, Walmart and other major retailers. Starkey is sold at Whole Foods locations.

(Getty Images)

“Customers typically purchase bottled water at exorbitantly high costs with the assumption that it is safer and healthier to drink than tap water, unaware that they are ingesting an extremely toxic metal linked to birth defects and cancer,” Center for Environmental Health CEO Michael Green said in a public statement about the report.

CEH announced that they have sent “legal notices” to the bottled water brands they exposed through their report.

“CEH has sent legal notices to these bottled water manufacturers and retailers because the amount of arsenic in the water is above the level requiring a health warning under California’s consumer protection law Proposition 65,” their press release states. “Prop 65 identifies arsenic as a metal that causes reproductive harm and cancer.”

Peñafiel is being pulled from stores and consumers can return them to stores and get a full refund.

Keurig Dr Pepper announced through a press release that they are pulling the bottled water from store shelves due to “presence of violative levels of arsenic.”

A Whole Foods spokesperson meanwhile told Fox Business that their bottled water meets FDA standards.

“At Starkey Water, our highest priority is to provide customers with safe, high-quality and refreshing spring water. Beyond the required annual testing by an FDA certified lab, we have an accredited third-party lab test every production run of water before it is sold, and our test results from the same lot analyzed by Consumer Reports show that these products are fully compliant with FDA standards for heavy metals. We would never sell products that do not meet FDA requirements,” they said.

This new report is only the latest bad news for the water bottle brands. A Consumer Reports study from April found that the water bottle brands contained twice the legal limit of arsenic. Peñafiel production ceased for two weeks due to that report.

The Foot and Drug Administration has not ordered a recall of Peñafiel or Starkey.

Arsenic is a poisonous chemical that can help lead to reproductive harm, circulatory and nervous system disorders and cancer if you are exposed to it over a long period. It can also cause paralysis, blindness and puts you at a higher risk for hypertension and diabetes.

Bottled water has generally been inspiring nothing but bad news in recent months. Besides these concerning reports, Australian researchers recently released a study that found that people are on average consuming five grams of microplastics each week, which is the equivalent to a credit card.

A 2018 study also found that 94 percent of bottled water sold at stores is contaminated by microplastic particles.

“The body is a very warm environment and that allows the leaching of these chemicals,” says Fredonia researcher Sherri Mason. “What are the effects that those are having? Those are questions that we’re still investigating.”


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