How Safe is Bottled Fiji Water
Dennis N. Crouse
March 15, 2021
Fiji water is sold in recyclable polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles1. Fiji water is a unique bottled water because the bottle is made of 100% PET that is more economic to recycle than bottles made of mixed plastics1. Both glass and PET bottles were used to store water from the same spring and in both cases no endocrine disrupters were released into the water2,3. This suggests that known endocrine disruptors, such as di-2-ethyhexyl phthalate (DEP)4, optionally added to some PET as a plasticizer, may be the cause of endocrine disruption seen with water stored in some non-Fiji PET bottles2. Fiji water has been tested and found to contain no detectable DEP5. Also, it is claimed the PET Fiji uses, does not contain phthalate plasticizers1.
Fiji water is also a unique bottled water because of its high concentration of orthosilicic acid (OSA) which is a water-soluble form of silica. OSA exists as single molecules [i.e., Si(OH)4] at a concentration of 124-149ppm6. Drinking water containing less than 160ppm of OSA (equivalent to 100ppm of dissolved silica) is generally regarded as safe (GRAS) by the U.S. FDA7.
In addition to OSA, Fiji water also contains bicarbonate, calcium, chloride, magnesium, sodium, and sulfate, all of which are considered harmless5. In addition, Fiji water contains the following trace metals including arsenic (1.2ppb), and fluoride (0.24ppm)5,8 that are well below the maximum contaminant levels [MCL or SMCL set by the U.S. EPA]. Also, Fiji water was filtered through a 0.45micron filter and then the filter was examined using a 45x power microscope to reveal 12 particles of unknown composition/liter9.
· Aluminum: 0 ppb10 (levels of aluminum over 100ppb have been linked to Alzheimer’s)10
· Antimony: 0 ppb5 (6 ppb MCL)Note 1
· Arsenic: 1.2ppb5 (10ppb MCL)
· Fluoride: 0.24ppm5,8 (2.0ppm SMCL)
· Lead: 0 ppb5 (0ppb MCL)
· Mercury: 0 ppb5 (2ppb MCL)
· Particles: 12/liter9 where usually 1 in 3000 is a microplastic particleNote 2
Therefore, Fiji water is safe to drink.
Note 1: An insignificant amount antimony is leached out of PET into bottled water after 3 months of storage at 22oC (71.6oF)11. However, storage of drinking water in PET containers at greater than 70oC (the glass transition temperature of PET) has been shown to add antimony to the stored water11.
Note 2: Fiji water is “micron-filtered” prior to bottling in order to remove particles5. A study that found 12 particles larger than 0.45 microns per liter of Fiji water, used a microscope that could not identify the composition of the particles9. When looking at small particles with just a microscope it is impossible to discern their composition12. People who use equipment that can discern composition of particles (e.g., Raman spectrometer) have not examined the particles in Fiji water. However, they have found that only 1 particle in 3000 particles in river water is microplastic12. The toxicology of microplastic particles is currently unknown but in spite of this, plastic microbeads were used for a number of years in some toothpastes and cosmetics. Because microbeads may be mistaken as food by fish, the Microbead Free Waters Act of 2015 by the U.S. FDA outlaws the manufacture, delivery, and sale of any rinse-off products (e.g., toothpastes, cosmetics, and over the counter drugs) containing microbeads smaller than 5 millimeters13.
1. Lynch, I., et al.; Fiji water A sustainability report; University of Vermont (2010)
2. Wagner, M., and Oehlmann, J.; Endocrine disruptors in bottled mineral water: total estrogenic burden and migration from plastic bottles; Environ. Sci. Pollut. Res.; 16:278-86 (2009)
3. Chung, B.Y., et al.; Uterotropic and Hershberger assays for endocrine disruption properties of plastic food contact materials polypropylene (PP) and polyethylene terephthalate (PET); J. Toxicol. Envrion. Health, Part A; 76(10):624-34 (2013)
4. Latini, G., et al.; Di-2-ethylhexyl phthalate and endocrine disruption: a review; Curr. Drug Targets Immune Endocr. Metabol. Disord.; Mar.; 4(1):37-40 (2004)
5. Fiji Water; Bottled water quality report; January (2017)
6. Crouse, D.N.; Silica water the secret of healthy blue zone longevity in the aluminum age, Etiological Publishing (2018)
7. Select committee on GRAS substances – SCOGS-61, NTIS Pb 301-402/AS (1979)
8. Delaney, J. as Client; Tweed Laboratory Centre; NSW Australia; Laboratory report on Fiji water (2019)
9. Barrows, A.P.W., Anthropogenic microparticle contamination in bottled water for human consumption; (2018)
10. Crouse, D.N.; Prevent Alzheimer’s, autism, and stroke with 7 supplements, 7 lifestyle choices, and a dissolved mineral; Etiological Publishing (2016)
11. Westerhoff, P., et al.; Antimony leaching from polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic used for bottled drinking water; Water Res.; Feb.; 42(3):551-6 (2018)
12. Ivleva, N.; Technical University Munich; How dangerous is microplastic? https://phys.org/news/2019-01-dangerous-microplastic.html
13. The microbead-free waters act: FAQs; U.S. FDA (2020) https://www.fda.gov/cosmetics/cosmetics-laws-regulations/microbead-free-waters-act-faqs