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The Food and Drug Administration limits levels of arsenic, a potentially dangerous metal, to 10 parts per billion (ppb), but after CR tested dozens of water bottle brands, it found that two samples of Whole Foods' Starkey Spring Water approached the federal arsenic limits with concentrations of 9.49 to 9.56 ppb and one exceeded the limit with a test of 10.1 ppb.
"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 told FOX Business. "These products meet all FDA requirements and are fully compliant with FDA standards for heavy metals.”
CR found that the Whole Foods-brand water bottles contained an average of at least three times the amount of arsenic found in other brands.
“Consumer Reports and the Guardian are unnecessarily scaring consumers about the safety of bottled water,” said Jill Culora, the International Bottled Water Association’ spokeswoman. “Consumers can remain confident that bottled water products, like all food and beverages, are strictly and comprehensively regulated by FDA and, thus, are safe for consumption.”
The FDA told CR in a statement that Starkey Spring Water arsenic levels meet FDA requirements, and arsenic is a naturally occurring element that "is not possible to remove" entirely "from the environment or food supply."
James Dickerson, CR’s chief scientific officer, said in a statement that while one bottle will not harm a consumer, "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."
Starkey Spring Water bottles are sold at most U.S. Whole Foods locations, according to the report, which highlights inconsistencies with regard to how water is regulated in the country.
An earlier version of this article has been updated to include a comment from the International Bottled Water Association.