Federal standards permit up to 10 ppb arsenic in tap water. In my corner of LA, we get about 4 ppb.
Water bottled in CA is subject to exactly the same standards as tap water. But “purified water” brands (NOT “mineral water” or “spring water”) have virtually no arsenic at all, since the R/O filtration systems that beverage bottlers use to purify municipal tap water are very efficient at removing arsenic.
Any municipal tap water may have as much arsenic as this WF bottled water, since anything less than 10 ppb is permitted.
I am not going to go into the discussion about what levels of arsenic are right. The original article gets it about right with “concerning levels of arsenic”. Having a state PHG of 0.0004 ppb is a great aspirational thing, but no help if all your local water has 10 ppb of arsenic. There is no cheap way to pull it all out, so get a water filter for the stuff you drink and leave the rest. If you can afford it.
The real problem is the people who have strange ides of ‘pure’ and ‘whole’. Who in heck thinks that percolating hot through cracks in hot rock two miles down for ten thousand years is a letter of recommendation for water?
Having traveled for work pretty frequently in the 10 years leading up to Covid-19, I’ve come to the conclusion that hotels just have gross water in general. Even in parts of the country that have really good tap water, the stuff from the hotel taps is always off.
Sometimes there’s a marked difference at the water fountain, too, which makes me think it’s something in the pipes that go up to the rooms.
Those bottles with filters are so helpful for staying hydrated on the road!
Bear in mind, though, that simple Brita-type filters – pitcher, faucet, or cartridge – won’t do anything at all about arsenic.
Eliminating arsenic requires either steam distillation or reverse osmosis. Distillers are energy-intensive and slow, while home R/O units are expensive both to install and maintain, and are quite wasteful, usually dumping about 7 gallons of waste ‘brine’ down the sewer for every gallon of pure water produced.
‘Brita’-type filters are fine for removing bad tastes from old, corroded local plumbing when your municipal tap water is otherwise reasonably clean. But for simple mineral-salt contaminants like arsenic, they’re useless.