High levels of arsenic found in bottled water sold at Whole Foods, Target, Walmart, study says

People often buy bottled water with the thought that it's safer than tap water. However, officials with a California nonprofit said tests found high levels of arsenic in two brands of bottled water sold nationwide.

The Center for Environmental Health said officials found high levels of toxic metal arsenic in Starkey Water, owned by Whole Foods, and Penafiel, owned by Keurig Dr Pepper and sold at Target, Walmart and other stores.

“Consumers are being needlessly exposed to arsenic without their knowledge or consent,” Michael Green, chief executive officer of CEH, said Tuesday in a news 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.”

The group did not say how much arsenic was detected in the water brands in question. Officials with the nonprofit said they sent legal notices to Whole Foods, Keurig Dr Pepper and several retailers after conducting arsenic tests, as the levels found exceeded the maximum allowed under California’s Proposition 65, a consumer protection law.

The study confirmed findings from Consumer Reports, which found the two brands had nearly double the federal limit of arsenic in water. Citing records, the nonprofit reported in April that the Food and Drug Administration learned about high levels of arsenic in Penafiel bottled water as early as 2013. However, the FDA has not recalled either Penafiel or Starkey Water.

In a study released last month, scientists found evidence that arsenic exposure can cause a thickening of the walls of the heart, increasing the risk of heart failure, according to the American Heart Association. Long-term exposure to high levels of arsenic in drinking water is also associated with several health conditions, including skin disorders, an increased risk for diabetes, high blood pressure and several types of cancer, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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