Bottled water is the number one selling bottled beverage in the United States. That’s right. We buy more bottled water than soda, juice or anything else. Why? We think it’s safer than tap water. We don’t know what’s in our tap water, (although, we could test it if we really wanted to), and we may not like the taste of our tap water, so we assume that bottled water is the better option.
We assume that because water is in a plastic bottle on a store’s shelf with a good looking label on it, it must be safe. Surely, it must we screened and tested and approved by the FDA or it wouldn’t be there. Right?
Consumer Reports has discovered that depending on what brand of bottled water you buy, it might actually be more harmful for you than drinking tap water. They actually found that some bottled water on store shelves contains levels of arsenic above the amounts approved by the FDA.
One of the offending brands was Starkey Water, the bottled water made by and for Whole Foods. Yes, the store we think of when we want to buy healthy, organic products has high levels of arsenic is it’s bottled water, or, at least it did at the time Consumer Reports tested it (in March 2019).
James Dickerson, Ph.D., chief scientific officer at Consumer Reports, says, “It makes no sense that consumers can purchase bottled water that is less safe than tap water.”
Arsenic is naturally found in places like soil, minerals, plants and even the air. When water is bottled, it can enter the water through pesticides, eroding rocks, minerals, urban waste, etc.
The EPA has set the limit for arsenic in beverages to 10 parts per billion (ppb) to minimize health risks, but Consumer Reports doesn’t believe that’s good enough. They want the limit to be changed to 3 ppb.
Arsenic levels below 10 ppb have been shown to be dangerous, especially for children. In fact, a 2014 study showed that children who had an arsenic level of 5 ppb or higher in their drinking water had an IQ 5 to 6 points lower than children who had an arsenic level below 5 ppb in their drinking water.
Another study showed a relationship between men who had prostate cancer and arsenic levels in water starting at just 2 ppb.
If you want to make sure your bottled water has the lowest levels of arsenic possible, you might want to choose one of these brands that self-reported that their water has arsenic levels below 3 ppb: Aquafina, Arrowhead, Dasani, Deer Park, Essentia, Evian, Fiji, Glaceau Smart Water, Ice Mountain, Kirkland (Costco), Life WTR, Market Pantry (Target), Nestlé Pure Life, Niagara, Poland Spring, Propel
Do you buy bottled water? If so, what brand? Would you ever consider switching to tap water?