When you look at the ingredients on most sparkling water, like Perrier or Topo Chico, the ingredient list is pretty simple. It’s just carbonated water. So what could possibly be unhealthy about that?
A year and half ago, I found Topo Chico and it was the best thing ever. There’s was something that I loved about the bubbles way more than any other sparkling water I had tried, it was downright addictive! I was drinking one or two bottles every night after my daughter would go to bed, it was my “night cap”… and around the same time, I started developing pesky eczema around my eyes.
I didn’t think they were related at all, until I went on a massive elimination diet to try to figure out what it was…
I eliminated a lot and tried everything, and never suspected Topo Chico, until I had exhausted all my options.
I talked to my integrative doctor about it, my dermatologist, and even went to my acupuncturist and asked him, do you think my eczema could be related to sparkling water? He was dumbfounded – and said, no I’ve never heard of that.
I told him something just isn’t right about this and so I stopped Topo Chico cold turkey for a while, and long and behold, my eczema cleared up.
But I still on occasion would drink it here and there.. because I wasn’t quite sure.
Until now. Fast forward to late 2020.
Consumer Reports came out with a new report about sparkling water that left me stunned that several of the doctors I follow online (like Dr. Christian Gonzalez and Dr. Ana Marie Temple) started to share.
They tested 45 brands of bottled water (including 12 sparkling waters) and found “PFAS” chemicals in several of them – including the Topo Chico I was personally buying!
Consumer Reports found the most PFAS in Topo Chico.
They also found levels over the 1 ppt recommended limit in other popular sparkling waters, like Polar, Bubly, Poland Spring, Canada Dry, LaCroix, and Perrier. To make sure they got reliable results, they independently tested 2-4 unopened samples of each variety, which were blind-coded to preserve their identities.
Here are the worst offenders:
- Topo Chico (now owned by Coca-Cola) (9.76 ppt)
- Polar Natural Seltzer Water (6.41 ppt)
- Bubly Blackberry Sparkling Water (2.24 ppt)
- Poland Spring Zesty Lime Sparkling Water (1.66 ppt)
- Canada Dry Lemon Lime Sparkling Seltzer Water (1.24 ppt)
- LaCroix Natural Sparkling Water (1.16 ppt)
- Perrier Natural Sparkling Mineral Water (1.1 ppt)
What are PFAS chemicals contaminating our water and how do they harm our health?
PFAS stands for a group of over 5,000 toxic fluorinated chemicals that have been used in manufacturing by big corporations (and by governments) for decades. These have now contaminated our environment and drinking water.
Exposure to PFAS are linked to all kinds of tragic health issues:
- Suppressed Immune System (2)
- Testicular Cancer (3)
- Liver Tumors (4)
- Thyroid Hormone Disruption (12)
- Delayed Mammary Gland Development (5)
- Decreased Vaccine Antibody Response (6)
- Increased Cholesterol Levels (7)(8)
- Atopic Dermatitis (15) (Ahhhh – this was why I had ECZEMA!!!!)
PFAS chemicals stick around forever…
For decades, the chemical company DuPont used “PFOA” (perfluorooctanoic acid) to make non-stick Teflon and 3M used “PFOS” (perfluorooctanesulfonic acid) to make Scotchgard and firefighting foam. These chemicals escaped from their factories, poisoning our drinking water. Even though companies no longer use these two substances, we are still paying the price.
PFAS substances are persistent – and don’t just disappear. They stick around in our environment and in our bodies when we consume them. That is why they are called “Forever Chemicals”.
You’ll now find PFAS in all major water supplies in the U.S., but some areas are worse than others. (9)
PFAS are not regulated by the government. It’s a free for all.
PFAS chemicals are found in all kinds of products – like nonstick pans, food packaging, cleaning products, carpets, clothing, and more.
Instead of creating strict limits, the EPA issued “voluntary” guidance that allows 70ppt (parts per trillion) of two of the most dangerous PFAS chemicals (PFOS and PFOA) in drinking water.
This is WAY TOO MUCH according to many natural health experts. The consumer advocacy group, Environmental Working Group, says the limit should be 1ppt. (10)
And, other advocacy groups like the NRDC say that 1ppt is even too high! (11)
The FDA has no regulations either, so if PFAS chemicals end up in bottled water no one will be held accountable. The FDA can’t even act until after the EPA sets a standard for drinking water, and it’s anyone’s guess how long that will take.
This is what makes the testing done by Consumer Reports so concerning.
Most of the non-carbonated bottled waters they tested had low levels of PFAS, except for two:
- Tourmaline Spring Sacred Living Water (4.64 ppt.)
- Deer Park Natural Spring Water (1.21 ppt)
What about heavy metals in bottled water?
Consumer Reports only found heavy metals in one brand of water: Starkey Spring Water, which is owned by Whole Foods. (13) It contained arsenic (a known carcinogen) nearly at 10 ppb, which is 3 times what Consumer Reports advises as safe: 3 ppb.
James Dickerson, Ph.D., chief scientific officer at Consumer Reports says a single bottle won’t harm you, “But 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, and poses other health issues as well.” (13)
The least contaminated brands…
The sparkling waters with the least amount of PFAS detected included San Pellegrino Natural Sparkling Mineral Water (0.31) and Spindrift Raspberry Lime Sparkling Water (0.19 ppt). Although I don’t like Spindrift, since it’s in an aluminum can.
As always, I highly recommend choosing bottled water that is packaged in glass, to avoid chemicals that are used in plastics and cans from leaching into your water.
One of my favorite bottled water brands, Mountain Valley Spring Water in the green glass bottles wasn’t tested by Consumer Reports. However, the water quality report on their website shows it is tested for Arsenic, PFOA, PFOS, and other PFAS substances, and none were detected in their water. (14)
Make sure you spread the word about this very important investigation!
Since our governmental agencies are doing absolutely nothing about PFAS in our water, I’m so thankful for advocacy groups like Consumer Reports who are doing the work in testing products for harmful substances and raising awareness.
Please share this post to warn your friends about sparkling water brands contaminated with health-wrecking chemicals.
And, stop buying bottled water from brands that are allowing these harmful chemicals in their water. They won’t change until they get enough public pressure to do so, and their bottom line is affected. We can make a difference together.