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"Natural" bottled water has a natural arsenic impurity



  Water can absorb arsenic from geological, agricultural or industrial sources.
Enlarge / Water can absorb arsenic from geological, agricultural or industrial sources.

According to Consumer Reports, several brands of bottled water contain the level of arsenic contamination.

The worst culprits in this report were Starkey, a Whole Foods brand that is marketed as water in its "natural state." And Peñafiel, owned by Keurig Dr. Pepper and imported from Mexico.

Peñafiel samples tested by CR had an arsenic content of 1

8.1 parts per billion on average, well above the 10 ppb permissible limit set by the Food and Drug Administration. Whole Foods levels of Starkey Water were found to be at or below a threshold between federal boundaries. The results range from 9.48 ppb to 10.1 ppb.

Arsenic is a trace element in rocks and sediments and can contaminate groundwater naturally from geological sources or from waterborne human activities such as mining and runoff from agricultural and industrial sources. Long-term exposure to high levels of arsenic is associated with skin diseases and increased risk of certain cancers, diabetes and high blood pressure, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In some studies, arsenic has also been implicated in impaired intellectual development after early exposure.

In response to CR's findings, Keurig Pepper stated that the production of bottled water was suspended at his plant in Mexico and the filtration would be redesigned. Whole Foods, however, stated that it had its own tests on batches of water that were tested by CR and that the levels were acceptable. The company's test results "show that these products meet FDA standards for heavy metals," Whole Foods told CR in a statement. It added that it checks "every production run of water before it's sold" and that the company "never sells products that do not meet FDA requirements."

However, this is not the first time that Starkey Water has had problems with arsenic. From late 2016 to early 2017, Starkey recalled 2,000 cases of water over arsenic above the federal threshold.

Is 10ppb too high?

In addition, some public health experts and researchers say that the federal threshold is too high. Some states have therefore set different arsenic standards for their water: in New Jersey, for example, the maximum permissible arsenic content in tap water was set at 5 ppb, while the garden state is always still meets the federal limit of 10 ppb for bottled water. [19659004] Scientists commissioned by CR recommend that regulators reduce the threshold to 3ppb: In the analysis of 130 bottled waters, CR found six brands with a content of at least 3ppb. These brands include Starkey and Peñafiel Crystal Geyser's Al Pine Spring Water (3.8 ppb), Danone's Volvic (4 ppb) and the two regional brands Crystal Creamery (5 ppb) and EartH & sub2; O (3 ppb).

One reason to keep water levels low is the fact that water is just one source of arsenic in daily life. As a naturally occurring element in the soil, it can occur in plants, air and food. Proponents have also expressed concern over the arsenic content in fruit juices and rice-based baby food. (Rice plants are particularly good at sucking arsenic and other elements like mercury from the soil.)

Due to its natural sources, avoiding arsenic can be difficult in some cases – but in the United States, the multi-billion dollar water industry is bottled States are not, according to critics, any of them.

"Why should you have arsenic in the water with bottled water?" Asked Ana Navas-Acien, a professor of environmental health sciences at the Columbia University CR's Mailman School of Public Health. "There should be many options for treatment and rehabilitation."


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