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FDA says Real Water is not cooperating with investigation

Updated March 25, 2021 - 5:04 pm

The Las Vegas-based maker of Real Water is not cooperating with a federal investigation into cases of illness and liver failure associated with the alkaline water, the Food and Drug Administration announced Thursday.

According to a news release, the FDA has not been provided with requested records from the company’s facilities in Henderson and Mesa, Arizona, prompting the agency to issue a demand for records on Tuesday.

Brent Jones, the company’s president and a former Nevada legislator, previously released a video on Real Water’s website, saying he is cooperating with the FDA.

Three California women are leading a federal class-action lawsuit filed Monday against the company, which would allow anyone who has suffered illnesses after drinking the water to join the case. A subclass of people who purchased and consumed the water in California also would be able to join the case.

Real Water, which is sold across the southwest, was marketed as “alkalized water infused with negative ions” and touted on its label as “the healthiest drinking water available.” The FDA has now warned consumers, restaurants and retailers not to drink, cook with, sell or serve the product.

Another lawsuit filed Wednesday claims a Las Vegas family suffered “catastrophic poisoning” after exposure to unidentified toxins in the water. The complaint said a 5-year-old girl experienced liver malfunction in November and continues to experience medical problems.

At least six lawsuits had been filed as of late Wednesday. In another suit, UFC Hall of Famer Stephan Bonnar claimed he suffered liver failure and was hospitalized for five days after drinking Real Water.

The FDA originally said the agency was alerted on March 13 to five cases of acute non-viral hepatitis in infants and children from November that had been reported to the Southern Nevada Health District.

“Although the investigation is ongoing, current epidemiologic information indicates that this alkaline water product may be the cause of the illnesses,” the FDA said Thursday.

Hepatitis symptoms can include fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine, clay or gray-colored bowel movements, joint pain, yellow eyes and jaundice.

The company has issued a voluntary recall of all sizes of its Real Water brand drinking water. Recalled products include 1.5 liters, 1 liter, 500 ml and 1 gallon ready-to-drink bottles that were distributed to various retail stores in the greater Las Vegas area, Northern Arizona, Southern California, Tennessee, Georgia, Chicago, New York, Mississippi and New Mexico. Real Water also is sold on Amazon.com.

According to the Southern Nevada Health District, water that is bottled and sold as alkaline water is subject to regulation by the FDA, and alkaline drinking water often contains additives that increase the pH.

“There are health claims associated with alkaline water,” the district’s website states. “However, there are no clear scientific benefits of drinking alkaline water.”

Contact Katelyn Newberg at knewberg@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0240. Follow @k_newberg on Twitter.

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