Report: High levels of arsenic found in bottled water sold at Whole Foods, Target and Walmart

OAKLAND, Calif. – Independent lab tests found high levels of the toxic metal arsenic in two brands of bottled water sold at grocery and big box stores, according to the Center for Environmental Health.

The two brands are Peñafiel and Starkey Spring Water, according to the report. Target and Walmart sell Peñafiel, and Starkey is owned by Whole Foods.

On Friday, Keurig Dr. Pepper announced the voluntary recall of Peñafiel unflavored mineral spring water “due to the presence of violative levels of arsenic.”

“Arsenic when present in the diet at very high levels, well above those detected in recent samples of Peñafiel, is associated with numerous chronic diseases,” Keurig Dr. Pepper said in a statement.

An independent lab found levels of arsenic above the FDA limit of 10 parts per billion in the water, which is imported from Mexico.

Consumers can return the water to the retailer for a full refund. See the Keurig Dr. Pepper website for more information.

CEH announced they sent “legal notices” to both manufacturers after finding arsenic levels that would require a health warning under California’s Proposition 65.

From late 2016 to early 2017, Consumer Reports tested Starkey Water – which a Whole Foods executive called “amazingly pristine” – and found levels of arsenic above 10 ppb.

“There is no place for arsenic in bottled water,” said Caroline Cox, senior scientist at CEH. “Bottled water companies need to take the necessary steps to remove this toxic metal from their products, and retailers should stop selling them now. Until those conditions are met, we recommend consumers avoid purchasing Whole Foods’ Starkey and Dr Pepper’s Penafiel.”

The Food and Drug Administration had not announced a recall for either as of Friday afternoon.

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