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Consumer Reports: 'Harmful' levels of arsenic found in Whole Foods' bottled water

According to Consumer Reports, Starkey Spring Water from Whole Foods had arsenic levels that were 'concerning.'
Credit: AP
A pedestrian wears a mask while walking past a sign for a Whole Foods Market in San Francisco, Tuesday, March 31, 2020. (AP)

WASHINGTON — The watchdog group Consumer Reports has issued a report that said bottled water made by Whole Foods has "potentially harmful levels of arsenic."

The group said Wednesday that its tests of Starkey Spring Water found arsenic levels ranging from 9.49 to 9.56 parts per billion, which was three times the level of arsenic compared to other bottled water brands. Federal regulations allow manufacturers to have arsenic levels up to 10 parts per billion.

In response, a Whole Foods spokesperson said that Starkey Water meets "all FDA requirements and are fully compliant with FDA standards for heavy metals.”

"At Starkey Water, our highest priority is to provide customers with safe, high-quality and refreshing spring water. Beyond the required annual testing by an FDA certified lab, we have an accredited third-party lab test every production run of water before it is sold," a spokesperson said. 

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Consumer Reports describes arsenic as a "potentially dangerous heavy metal" and said they found that bottles of Starkey Spring Water they tested had "concerning levels of arsenic" in them. 

Credit: Whole Foods

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Consumer Reports has been trying to push the federal government to lower the acceptable arsenic level in bottled water to 3 parts per billion, citing health reasons. According to Consumer Reports, "even small amounts of the heavy metal over extended periods increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, certain cancers, and lower IQ scores in children."

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The consumer watchdog says they also tested samples of Starkey Spring Water back in 2019 and found levels of arsenic which "approached or exceeded the federal limit."

According to Consumer Reports' Chief Scientific Officer James Dickerson, drinking a single bottle of Starkey Spring Water "probably" won't hurt you, but regular consumption is not recommended.