Does Your Seltzer Contain Toxic “Forever Chemicals”?

A new Consumer Reports investigation has found that the answer is likely yes

Getty Images/iStockphoto/Photo illustration by Mike Falco

Bad news for those of us who rely on seltzer for our recommended eight glasses of water a day: as a new piece by Gizmodo points out, a Consumer Reports investigation has found that many popular brands of carbonated water contain toxic “forever chemicals” known as per- and polyfluoroakyl substances (PFAS).

As the publication notes, there are differing guidelines about what constitutes an “acceptable” level of PFAS, which don’t break down easily in the environment or the human body. The EPA has voluntary guidelines for PFAS levels set at 70 parts per trillion (ppt), while some states have limits as low as 12 ppt. “Meanwhile, the International Bottled Water Association says PFAS levels should be under 5 ppt for one compound and under 10 ppt for more than one compound,” the article notes. “However, the investigation emphasized that some experts have said even these ‘acceptable levels’ are too high and that we should really be aiming for less than 1 ppt.”

With that in mind, the study found that Perrier, La Croix, Canada Dry, Poland Spring, Bubly, Polar and Topo Chico all had levels over the 1 ppt limit. Topo Chico was the highest at 9.76 ppt, followed by Polar at 6.41 ppt. (You can read all of the findings here.)

However, all is not lost. There were a handful of brands whose PFAS levels were found to be below 1 ppt, including Spindrift, Dasani, Schweppes and Sanpellegrino. Sparkling Ice may be your best bet — it was the only brand that had undetectable levels of PFAS.

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