We should be able to expect that products that are widely available for purchase are safe to consume but, unfortunately, this is not always the case. When you reach for a can of fizzy, sparkling water the last thing you want is to unknowingly be ingesting toxic chemicals with each sip, but that may be exactly what you are doing. Consumer Reports recently tested sparkling water and discovered that many of the most popular brands of sparkling water contain measurable levels of PFAS, a dangerous family of chemicals.
What Are PFAS?
Perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, commonly referred to as PFAS, are a class of man-made chemicals. These chemicals are very persistent in the environment and in the human body. Because of this, they are sometimes referred to as ‘forever chemicals’. PFAS pose many health risks to humans: high cholesterol, decreased fertility in women, increased risk of thyroid disease, and an increased risk of some cancers are just a few of the primary health concerns associated with PFAS. Given the high level of risk, there is no excuse for these chemicals to be present in any food or beverage.
What Are PFAS Doing in Sparkling Water?
Unfortunately, we don’t know why PFAS are ending up in sparkling water. It could be that the source water already contains PFAS or that the carbonation process is causing it, but the fact of the matter is that PFAS are present where they shouldn’t be. PFAS safety standards are still largely in development and vary state by state, however, most scientists believe the standard should be no more than 1 part per trillion (ppt). Luckily, thanks to Consumer Reports, we now know which brands of sparkling water have levels of PFAS below that standard and which do not.
What Sparkling Waters Should I Drink and Which Should I Avoid?
There are many brands of sparkling waters to choose from, so why not avoid the most contaminated ones and stick with safer choices? Brands that have levels of PFAS above 1 ppt are Bubly (2.24), Canada Dry (1.24), La Croix (1.16), Perrier (1.1), Poland Spring (1.66), Polar (6.41), and Topo Chico (9.76). Brands that have PFAS below 1 ppt are Dasani (0.37), San Pellegrino (0.31), Schweppes (0.58), and Spindrift (0.19). Possibly the best choice is Sparkling Ice, which has no detectable levels of PFAS. By purchasing one of these less contaminated brands, you can stay healthy and sparkle on knowing that your ice-cold can doesn’t contain dangerous levels of PFAS.