What You Need to Know About Your Favorite Sparkling Water: Is Topo Chico Bad for You?

Eva Hagan - Author

Dec. 5 2023, Published 3:33 p.m. ET

The Gist:

  • Topo Chico was found in 2020 to contain high levels of forever chemicals in comparison to other brands.

  • In 2021, Topo Chico claimed it had reduced its forever chemicals by over 50 percent.

  • However, the company still has work to do, because even the smallest amount of forever chemicals can be toxic.

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If you are a sparkling water drinker, chances are you have sipped on a Topo Chico before. In its signature glass bottle and yellow cap, it’s a fan favorite for those who love bubbly drinks, and it’s been around for over a century.

Despite the legacy, Topo Chico was found to contain forever chemicals and several other sparkling water brands. This revelation has sent many down a research rabbit hole. So, Green Matters looked into Topo Chico to answer the looming question: is Topo Chico bad for you?

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Is Topo Chico bad for you?

Topo Chico made headlines in 2020 after a study by Consumer Reports found that its sparkling water had the highest levels of forever chemicals of all the water brands tested. These forever chemicals, also known as polyfluoroalkyl substances or PFAS, are used to make many everyday products resistant to water, stains, and grease. They are toxic in even the smallest amounts and do not break down in the environment.

PFAS have been linked to some pretty severe health problems, such as cancer, thyroid problems, kidney disease, and abnormal fetal development, per the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC). So, in other words, they aren’t something you want to drink.

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When Green Matters looked at the levels of PFAS in sparkling water brands, the 2020 Consumer Reports study revealed startling levels of PFAS, with Topo Chico’s at 9.76 parts per trillion (ppt). Despite being below the Environmental Protection Agency’s recommended 70 ppt limit, most scientists have argued one ppt is the actual safe limit.

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In 2021, Consumer Reports found that Topo Chico had reduced their PFAS amount by over 50 percent. However, with its high starting point of 9.76 ppt, this means it is still well above the 1 ppt recommended limit.

Is Topo Chico good for you?

Without the PFAS, Topo Chico’s mineral water could be a good hydration option, but there are better options until it gets the PFAS under control. If you pick up sparkling water, consider brands like Sanpellegrino, Dasani, Schweppes, Spindrift, and Sparkling Ice, which all tested with PFAS levels under one ppt, per Consumer Reports.

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You may be thinking, aren’t PFAS everywhere? Well, probably yes. PFAS have been found in food, the environment, and even in people’s blood. This raises major concerns, considering the health risks associated with PFAS exposure and that scientists are still trying to understand how these chemicals will affect humans. And, according to NPR, until there is any solid ban or lower limit on PFAS, being an educated consumer is the best you can do.

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