What’s Really in Your Bottled Water?

Ryan Felton

Consumer Reports found toxic PFAS chemicals in several popular water brands, especially carbonated ones.

CR recently tested 47 bottled waters, including 35 noncarbonated and 12 carbonated ones. For each product, we tested two to four samples. The tests focused on four heavy metals (arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury), plus 30 PFAS chemicals, which pose special concerns because they can linger in the environment almost indefinitely.

Most of the noncarbonated products CR tested had detectable levels of PFAS, but only two … exceeded 1 part per trillion.

… All noncarbonated water that CR tested had heavy metal levels well below federal safety limits, with one exception …

… All carbonated water that CR tested fell below legal limits for heavy metals, and none had arsenic levels above CR’s recommended maximum of 3 parts per billion. But many products had measurable amounts of PFAS.

Brian Ronholm, CR’s director of food policy, says that PFAS in carbonated water highlights the need for the federal government to set science-based limits for PFAS compounds in tap and bottled drinking water. “The fact that so many brands had total PFAS below 1 ppt shows it is feasible to get to more protective levels,” he says.

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