Consumer Reports warned that bottled water made by Whole Foods contains “potentially harmful levels of arsenic,” amounting to three times the level of the chemical compared to other brands.
The consumer watchdog group said Wednesday that Starkey Spring Water had “concerning levels of arsenic,” ranging from 9.49 to 9.56 parts per billion. Federal regulations limits the amount of arsenic to 10 parts per billion, although Consumer Reports has been pushing it to be lowered to 3 parts per billion for safety and health reasons.
Although drinking a single bottle of the in-house brand isn’t harmful, 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,” Consumer Reports said.
In response, Whole Foods said that Starkey water meets “all FDA requirements and are fully compliant with FDA standards for heavy metals.”
“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 Whole Foods spokesperson said in a statement to CNN Business.
Consumer Reports also tested 45 other bottled water brands and found they had “undetectable amounts of arsenic, demonstrating that lower levels are feasible.”
It’s the second time Starkey Spring Water has come under criticism from Consumer Reports within the past two years. The group discovered similar levels of arsenic in the products last year and said it was the only brand it tested that exceeded 3 parts per billion level of arsenic.
The water, which is also sold on Amazon (AMZN), has been the target of a class-action lawsuit in 2019 over its health labeling.