While a definite link has yet to be proven, Vegas-based Real Water has been identified as a common source in several cases of acute hepatitis.
Health officials have issued a warning against Las Vegas-based Real Water, instructing consumers to avoid the drink after it was linked to illness in several children.
Earlier this week, the United States Food and Drug Administration issued guidance to consumers, restaurants, and retailers to avoid drinking, cooking with, selling, or serving Real Water.
ABC News reports that Real Water President Brent Jones has also ordered the company to cease sales “throughout the United States until the issue is resolved.”
“Our goal,” Jones said in a Wednesday statement, “is to diligently work with the FDA to achieve a swift resolution.”
The FDA, notes The Las Vegas Review-Journal, recently announced that Real Water had been linked to several cases of liver illness in children. Since then, more Nevada residents have stepped forward to claim that they, too, fell sick after drinking Real Water.
Tina Hartshorn, for instance, told the Review-Journal she ordered several five-gallon jugs of Real Water to her North Vegas home. Hartshorn was purportedly intrigued by Real Water’s marketing, whereby the company claimed its products constitute “alkalized water infused with negative ions,” making it the “healthiest drinking water available.”
Hartshorn says she consumed Real Water every day for a month—but then started to fall ill. She began vomiting, then developed symptoms akin to an inner-ear infection.
She wound up hospitalized and now owes over $100,000 in medical bills.
Although Hartshorn’s health concerns can’t be definitively traced to Real Water, her case, symptoms, and complaints reflect other consumers’ experience with the product.
Similarly, the Southern Nevada Health District investigated six separate incidences of acute non-viral hepatitis in children and adults.
At least five children required hospitalization, but all were able to recover.
The district appears unsure of what caused the infection outbreak, but said consumption of Real Water was common between all affected households.
“To date, the consumption of ‘Real Water’ brand alkaline water was found to be the only common link identified between all the cases,” the district said in a statement.
Real Water is also facing litigation from plaintiffs who claim the product wreaked havoc on their health. In their complaint, attorneys note that Real Water’s labeling claims it has a “beneficial” pH average of 8.0—but that, in reality, Real Water is sourced from Las Vegas’s public tap water supply, which has an average pH of about 7.8.
Real Water’s president has, in the meantime, asked consumers and businesses to comply with the FDA’s instruction.
“Real Water is asking that all retailers pull the product from the shelf, effective immediately, and hold it in the back rooms or return it to the distributors,” Jones said. “Any customer who purchased Real Water from a retailer is asked to return the product.”