Bottled water recalled over arsenic levels

24 June 2020

Keurig Dr Pepper has announced it will voluntarily withdraw Peñafiel spring water products in the US due to the presence of arsenic. 

An independent laboratory detected arsenic at levels that exceeded the US Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) bottled water standards for mineral water of 10 parts per billion (ppb) in Peñafiel samples, the firm said. 

Keurig Dr Pepper is withdrawing all unflavored Peñafiel mineral spring water products including 600ml and 1.5l of all date codes. Consumers have been urged to return items to their retailer for a full refund.

Keurig Dr Pepper said: “Arsenic is found in nature, including in aquifers that are the source of mineral water and where levels can vary over time. Keurig Dr Pepper has recently installed enhanced filtration systems at its facilities that produce Peñafiel, and the product now being produced is well within regulatory guidelines.”

Regular consumption of even small amounts of the heavy metal can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and certain cancers.

The recall of Peñafiel comes as Starkey Spring Water was found to contain potentially harmful levels of arsenic, according to tests by Consumer Reports (CR).

CR found Starkey Spring Water, which is manufactured by Whole Foods, had levels of arsenic, ranging from 9.49 to 9.56ppb. CR experts believe that level does not adequately protect public health.

According to CR, the level of arsenic found in Starkey Spring Water was at least three times the amount found in other bottled water brands.

A Whole Foods spokesperson told CR: “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. These products meet all FDA requirements and are fully compliant with FDA standards for heavy metals.”

A spokesperson for the FDA said the arsenic levels CR found in Starkey Spring Water meet the agency’s standard for the heavy metal, adding arsenic is a naturally occurring element.

In late 2016, Whole Foods recalled more than 2,000 cases of Starkey Spring Water after tests found arsenic levels of up to 12ppb in some samples.

Meanwhile, the Missouri Court of Appeals ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay $2.1bn in damages to women who blamed ovarian cancer on the company’s talcum powder products

The court lowered the original $4.69bn verdict from July 2018 after dismissing some claims made by the women and families that had sued the firm. 

A spokeswoman for Johnson & Johnson said the company would seek further review of the ruling by the Supreme Court of Missouri.

Johnson & Johnson faces more than 19,000 lawsuits related to its talc products from consumers claiming the products were contaminated with asbestos.  

Last month, the firm announced it would stop selling baby powder made from talc in North America, but it continues to sell the product around the world.

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