Popular sparkling water brand LaCroix is in the middle of a lawsuit for allegedly containing a key ingredient found in insecticides, but labeling their water as "all natural."
According to a statement from Beaumont Costales, the law firm suing LaCroix's parent company Natural Beverage Corporation, tests revealed that there were a number of artificial ingredients in the popular beverage brand. These ingredients listed were identified by as "synthetic" by the Food and Drug Administration.
So here's what people see on the back of a LaCroix can:
- Carbonated water
- Natural flavor
A pretty simple combination, right? So what's the problem?
In the lawsuit, the chemicals under "natural flavor" identified were limonene, linalool propionate, and linalool. Limonene is known to cause tumors and kidney toxicity and linalool can be found inside cockroach insecticide.
When news of the lawsuit broke, many people on our social media disavowed LaCroix for their alleged "shadiness." The company, however, publicly denied all of this.
Hi Julia, we categorically deny all allegations. Natural flavors in LaCroix are derived from the natural essence oils from the named fruit used in each of the flavors. All essences contained in LaCroix are certified by our suppliers to be 100% natural.— LaCroix Water (@lacroixwater) October 5, 2018
To mollify the masses dumping their LaCroix in the trash, Popular Science broke down the three "synthetic" ingredients listed in the lawsuit so consumers would have a better idea exactly how dangerous LaCroix actually is. Spoiler alert: It's not.
Limonene is a "naturally occurring chemical" that's derived from the oil of citrus peels. The Food and Drug Administration lists limonene as safe in food, where it's commonly used as a flavor and fragrance. There is little evidence that the chemical is cancerous to humans (though some in rodents), and some studies have even shown that it helps battle cancer.
PubChem states that linalool is another "naturally occurring" agent found in flowers and spice plants. This includes herbs, cinnamon, mints, and laurels. While it is used in insecticides, PubChem advocates that it isn't necessarily harmful to consume. The only side effects are mild eye and skin irritation, where someone eating spicy foods would experience the same results.
The final ingredient linalool propionate, or linayl propionate, is found in ginger and lavender oils. The chemical ingredient is also said to be used as a means to help treat prostate cancer. Popular Science notes that the lawsuit's statement of linalool propionate battling cancer cells really doesn't do much for their argument.
So where does this leave the casual LaCroix drinkers worried that they could be pounding chemicals into their bodies?
Facts on the table, it sounds like LaCroix is still safe to drink. While we won't really know if the ingredients found in LaCroix were derived naturally or synthetically until a full investigation is launched, the quantity used in a can appears to be nothing to stress over.
The National Beverage Corps has since snapped back at the lawsuit, stating that it was filed "without basis in fact or law regarding the natural composition of its LaCroix sparkling waters" and that the parent company "will vigorously seek actual and punitive damages among other remedies from everyone involved in the publication of these defamatory falsehoods."
We'll see in the weeks to come where this case leaves sparkling water brand.