High Levels of Arsenic Found in Bottled Water Sold at Whole Foods, Target & Walmart

If you've long been convinced that drinking bottled water is better than tap because it contains less toxins, you may be in for a rude awakening...


If you've long been convinced that drinking bottled water is better than tap because it contains less toxins, get ready to do a spit-take. A surprising new study just revealed that some bottled water products contain levels of arsenic higher than regular tap water, including a couple popular brands sold at stores like Whole Foods, Target, and Walmart.

The revelation comes from a new study conducted by the non-profit organization Center for Environmental Health, which determined that bottled water made by two major companies contains particularly high levels of arsenic -- more than is found in tap water. Bottles of Starkey Water and Peñafiel (owned by Whole Foods and Keurig Dr. Pepper, respectively) were specifically found to contain the high levels of the chemical element, which is toxic to humans in high doses. The folks at the CEH also said that the levels violate state guidelines in California (which has especially strict laws on the matter) and that bottles sold there should be labeled with a warning. 

“Consumers are being needlessly exposed to arsenic without their knowledge or consent,” said CEH CEO Michael Green, in a press release. “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.”

These findings appear to confirm a report earlier this year from Consumer Reports, which claimed that bottled water made by Keurig Dr. Pepper and Whole Foods had unsafe levels of arsenic (more than three parts per billion). Starkey Water is sold at Whole Foods, while Peñafiel is sold at several major retailers nationwide including Target and Walmart. 

The FDA has yet to weigh in on the matter, nor have either Keurig Dr. Pepper or Whole Foods.

Seems like it might be time to dust off the ol' Brita.

h/tUSA Today

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Joe McGauley is a senior writer for Thrillist. Follow him @jwmcgauley.