Bottled water containing ‘dangerous’ levels of arsenic pulled from shelves nationwide

Samples of Keurig Dr Pepper’s Peñafiel bottled water had an alarming 70 percent more arsenic than the EPA allows. The water is on import watch in the US, but Consumer Reports was able to purchase it easily

Bottled water made by food and beverage giants Dr Pepper and Whole Foods is being pulled from stores after a report found dangerous levels of toxic arsenic.  

A Consumer Reports investigation, published in April, found the company’s Peñafiel water contains 70 percent more arsenic than US standards permit, after scrutinizing an internal report from Keurig Dr Pepper. 

Though one bottle alone would not be fatal or critically toxic to humans, Consumer Reports warned, arsenic can build up in the body over time and cause cancer and diabetes. 

On Friday, the bottles sold in stores including Target and Walmart were pulled nationwide, according to a statement from the company. 

In the US, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) considers anything under 10 ppb to be safe. 

But in tests of 130 different brands of bottled water, the new report found that 11 had detectable amounts of the heavy metal.   

Arsenic is a naturally occurring element that often contaminates ground water in many countries including the US. 

In a single, high dose, the substance can be fatally toxic. 

But long-term exposure to lower levels can cause skin lesions, and may cause skin, bladder and lung cancers, as well as raising risks of diabetes, developmental delays, heart and lung disease. 

Plus, it raises risks of dangerous pregnancy complications for mothers and babies alike. 

Getting arsenic out of water is one of the reasons bottled water is supposed to be safer. 

But Consumer Reports’s findings suggest that buying bottles from a number of brands may not be any better than taking your chances with the tap. 

Peñafiel had 17 ppb in some tests – a 70 percent higher concentration than allowed by EPA regulations.

Peñafiel, which is made in and distributed from Mexico, is currently on an import watch due to its alarming arsenic levels. 

But Consumer Reports investigators were ‘easily’ able to find and purchase the contaminated bottled water in brick-and-mortar stores and on Amazon. 

The EPA told the watchdog group that it was taking ‘appropriate action.’ 

At first, Keurig Dr Pepper temporarily halted production of the bottled water, but did not issue a recall. 

But last week, that changed.  

The Consumer Reports investigation also found another five brands – including Whole Foods’s Starkey water, Crystal Geyser Alpine Spring Water, Volvic, Crystal Creamery and Earth H2O – contained more arsenic than the lower figurethey consider to be safe. 

Arsenic levels in organic grocer Whole Foods's Starkey bottled water skate dangerously close to US federal limits, says Consumer Reports - and the agency says the EPA's cap is too high

Arsenic levels in organic grocer Whole Foods’s Starkey bottled water skate dangerously close to US federal limits, says Consumer Reports – and the agency says the EPA’s cap is too high

Its independent tests on Whole Foods’s Starkey water earlier this month found arsenic levels varying between 9.48 and 9.98 ppb – just shy of the federal limit. 

One sample, the report said, nosed past 10 ppb to 10.1 ppb. 

Whole Foods defended its water as ‘completely safe,’ and insisted in a statement that it ‘would never sell products that do not meet FDA requirements.’ 

Technically, they are in the clear, but Consumer Reports is urging that even levels above three ppb should not be acceptable.