Whole Foods' bottled water has "concerning levels of arsenic," says Consumer Reports

Starkey Spring Water, made by Whole Foods, has "at least three times the level of every other brand tested," Consumer Reports found. In fact, many of the other 45 brands tested contained undetectable amounts of arsenic, while the Whole Foods brand butted up against the maximum amount permitted by Federal regulations (10 parts per billion).

The water, sold mainly in Whole Foods markets and on Amazon, has "concerning levels of arsenic," the watchdog group says, and is "potentially harmful."

From Consumer Reports:

CR recently tested dozens of bottled water brands and found that Starkey Spring Water, introduced by Whole Foods in 2015, had concerning levels of arsenic, ranging from 9.49 to 9.56 parts per billion (ppb), at least three times the level of every other brand tested. Federal regulations require manufacturers to limit the amount of arsenic, a potentially dangerous heavy metal, in bottled water to 10 ppb.

Consumer Reports' experts believe that level does not adequately protect public health.

CR also tested samples of Starkey Spring Water in 2019, finding levels of arsenic that approached or exceeded the federal limit: Three samples ranged from 9.48 to 9.86 ppb of arsenic; a fourth registered 10.1 ppb. Those results are cited in two pending consumer lawsuits over Starkey's arsenic content.

Although one bottle shouldn't do any harm, "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," says James Dickerson, chief scientific officer at Consumer Reports.

According to CNN, Whole Foods responded by denying there was any problem at all, claiming that their water meets "all FDA requirements and are fully compliant with FDA standards for heavy metals."