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

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Despite its popularity and its distribution in places such as Flint, Michigan, bottled water might not be as safe as you think.

A test conducted by California nonprofit Center for Environmental Health finds that two bottled water brands — Peñafiel, owned by Keurig Dr. Pepper and Starkey, owned by Whole Foods — contain levels of arsenic that are higher than tap water, violating state guidelines as a result.

High levels of arsenic, California law states, can cause reproductive harm and cancer.  Products that violate recommended state levels of arsenic have to be labeled with a warning.

“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,” said Michael Green, the organization’s CEO, in a statement.

Studies also show that it can cause hormone disruption and organ damage, especially in children.

It corroborates independent findings released earlier this year by Consumer Reports, which found that the same brands of water have nearly double the federal limit of arsenic in water.

Keurig Doctor Pepper stopped production of Peñafiel for two weeks after the release of the initial Consumer Reports study, with proposals to improve water filtration. So far, the Food and Drug Administration has yet to recall either brand of bottled water.

Peñafiel is currently sold at Target, Walmart and other vendors, while Starkey is sold at Whole Foods.

Earlier this year, Consumer Reports found potentially harmful levels of metals including arsenic in fruit juices.

Neither Whole Foods or Keurig Dr. Pepper have responded to requests for comment from USA TODAY.

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