High Levels Of Arsenic Found In Whole Foods’ Bottled Water Brand

Whole Foods storefront
Cindy Ord / Getty Images

A series of tests conducted by Consumer Reports found high levels of arsenic in Starkey Spring Water, a brand of water sold in both the popular supermarket Whole Foods and its parent company Amazon.

The startling findings were the result of an investigation conducted by the consumer advocacy agency to test dozens of bottled water brands. Starkey Spring Water, which has been sold in Whole Foods since 2015, was found to have “concerning” levels of the toxic metal, with at least three times the amount of arsenic as its competitors. The specific levels found in the brand ranged from 9.49 to 9.56 parts per billion (PPB).

Though current federal regulations have a current limit of 10 PPB for bottled water, Consumer Reports claimed that their scientists believe that the federally mandated limit is too high to protect the public from the damaging effects of the metal.

Test results were even worse when Consumer Reports tested Starkey’s sparkling water back in 2019, per The Guardian. Three of the samples clocked in results of ranging from 9.48 to 9.86 PPB, and a fourth flatly failed federal regulations with 10.1 PPB.

Starkey is currently facing two pending consumer lawsuits due to the high arsenic content in their sparkling water brand.

Though experts have claimed that drinking a bottle of Starkey water on rare occasions is not a cause for concern, they have emphasized that consistent doses of arsenic can have serious health consequences.

“Regular consumption of even small amounts of the heavy metal over extended periods increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, certain cancers, and lower IQ scores in children, and poses other health issues as well,” claimed Dr. James Dickerson, Consumer Reports’s chief scientific officer.

This is not the first time that Starkey Spring Water has come under fire for its safety standards. It was previously recalled for exceeding federal limits.

Erik Olson, senior strategic director of health and food at the Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental advocacy organization, has claimed that the findings are a good reminder that bottled water does not always mean cleaner water.

“I think the average consumer would be stunned to learn that they’re paying a lot of extra money for bottled water, thinking that it’s significantly safer than tap, and unknowingly getting potentially dangerous levels of arsenic,” Olson stated.

Though the recent data has resulted in negative press for Whole Foods, the supermarket garnered glowing headlines earlier this month.

Consumer Health & Safety Index recently published a list of supermarkets that had implemented the best safety precautions during the coronavirus pandemic; as was previously reported by The Inquisitr, Whole Foods received high marks for its hygienic standards.


Editor’s note: The International Bottled Water Association reached out to The Inquisitr with a media release, reproduced here, in part.

“An article published by Consumer Reports and the Guardian (US edition) falsely claims that one brand of bottled water (among 45 brands tested) contains high levels of arsenic, said the International Bottled Water Association (IBWA).

The fact is, the arsenic test results for the brand, Starkey Spring Water, fully meet the requirements of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which strictly regulates bottled water. Moreover, all 45 bottled water brands tested by Consumer Reports had arsenic levels below the FDA limit.

‘Consumer Reports and the Guardian are unnecessarily scaring consumers about the safety of bottled water,” said Jill Culora, IBWA’s vice president of communications. “Consumers can remain confident that bottled water products, like all food and beverages, are strictly and comprehensively regulated by FDA and, thus, are safe for consumption.'”