Mountain Pure “Purified” Drinking Water Recalled for Mold

As Mark Bittman said when he tweeted this press releasem, “If bottled water is getting recalled we’re all in a lot of trouble.”

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – May 4, 2011 – Officials at the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) announced today that test results on a sample taken from certain lots of Mountain Pure bottled drinking water show the presence of biological contamination.

The company has announced a voluntary recall of lots marked with a four-digit time code. The time code is written in military time, and the affected time period is from 2200 through 0400. This is etched into the plastic bottle. Also included is an expiration date code that says either Best By 2-27-2013 MPWA or Best By 2-28-2013 MPWA. These are bottles of purified drinking water in the 16.9 fl. oz. (506 ml.) size. ADH is recommending that anyone who might have purchased or received any of this bottled water dispose of it or return it to the point of purchase.

More testing is needed to identify the specific type of mold and its origin, and that is expected to take several more days. ADH has recommended to the company that they recall the entire lot where this sample originated, and the recall process is underway.

According to William L. Mason, MD, MPH, branch chief for the Preparedness and Emergency Response branch at ADH, it is unlikely that a healthy person would become ill from drinking this water. “People with a weakened immune system might be at higher risk,” Mason said. “Anyone who thinks they may have become ill after drinking this water should consult a physician.”

The affected water was found in a shipment of bottled water ordered by the city of Clinton for use during disaster response efforts that are on-going there. In some communities, including Clinton, public drinking water systems are under precautionary boil orders to help reduce the possibility of diarrheal illness. Residents are urged to boil drinking water for one minute prior to consuming it or to drink bottled water.

“We want to stress that the bottled water recall applies only to the specific lots of Mountain Pure water that are on the recall,” Mason said. “We are still saying that bottled water and water that you have purified by boiling is the safest way to provide drinking water in those communities with disrupted water supplies.”

This water was distributed because the water treatment plant in Clinton, AR, failed after heavy rains. According to the “Pure Mountain” people, the mold was introduced into the bottles as dust fell into the bottles during “purification.”

He said dust particles got into some water bottles during the capping of filled water bottles as part of the final process known as ozonation, where ozone is used to remove iron, manganese, taste, odors and sulfur without adding chemicals.

The particles may not show up for several days, depending on the temperature at which the bottled water is stored, according to Stacks.

It’s bad enough that we can’t produce eggs or peanut butter without contamination. But it seems somehow symbolic that we can’t manage to bottle water without introducing some kind of contamination.

  1. bobschacht says:

    The bottled water industry is a scam from start to finish, built upon the failure of many communities to maintain adequate drinking water standards. We are being trained to think of water as a commodity like food, that we have to buy in a store. Next in line: the air we breathe. Somewhere there’s an oxygen concentrator with your name on it.

    Bob in AZ

    • DWBartoo says:

      The commodification of existence blends transparently into the seamless whole of a holy neofeudalism, as invisioned by our most astute and calculating betters, Bob.

      Of late, the rationing of sunshine, nationwide, has been raining on the dampened hopes of the many except where drought holds sway, and, if sufficient “kool-aid” is bandied about, even that concern gives away to real questions of moment such as, “Why aren’t you cheering America’s resolve and ‘can do!’ attitude in taking out the devil?”

      Who here among us can remember a world before water-bottles?

      How, ever, did we get along without them?


      • BoxTurtle says:


        I can remember going to the cabinet, getting a glass, going to the kitchen sink, filling it with water and DRINKING it! Really! And we didn’t even have city water, it came from a well.

        Boxturtle (nobody died from it, though it might explain my questionable sense of humor)

        • DWBartoo says:

          I hear ya, BoxTurtle.

          And, when I was a kid, in those long ago days, the only time I took water WITH me was when I expected to be gone hiking all day or camping overnight …

          Must be that all of us of a certain age just had a whole different relationship to water than folks do nowadays.

          Do you know where your water bottle is?

          You don’t?

          Well, you’re not very responsible.

          Where do you think water comes from?

          Think it falls from the skies, collects in puddles, lakes, seas, and oceans, runs in streams, creeks, and rivers, and bubbles from springs and wells?

          Well that water all belongs to someone and if you don’t buy a bottle, you won’t be getting the best, just some stuff that fish fornicate in, according to WC, in fact you’ll be drinking the same damn stuff the dinosaurs drank and you know what happened to them?

          Some very famous people, even sports figures, are involved in the bottling and selling of water, what would happen if everyone grew their own?

          It is a question of taste.

          Remember the difference between water from the kitchen and water from the bathroom?

          Kid, suspiciously, “Dad, is that water from the kitchen or the bathroom …?”

          But, we have been progressing … right?


    • BoxTurtle says:

      They’re already selling oxygen in Japan, they have for years. There are “air bars’ where you can go to get a jolt of the pure stuff.

      Sample story

      Boxturtle (And after a day of breathing Tokyo’s air, it might seem a good use of your money)

      • bobschacht says:

        Of course. There are also ‘air bars’ in shopping centers in California. My wife treated me to a breath of oxygenated air in one of them last year. But the cachet of oxygenation just makes me think of hospital confinement, which saps the thrill a bit for me.

        Bob in AZ

    • mzchief says:

      1) Corporations and their goons have been and still are attempting hostile takeovers of natural resources and basic infrastructure. Pristine waters is a favorite target and PDX has been running these people off for decades and will continue to as it’s a fight for local control of community resources (see “Keeping Current on the Mt. Tabor Open Reservoir Issue,” SE Examiner, by Floy Jones, Apr. 1, 2011). We aren’t interested in subsidizing the bankstas and their pet projects of Big Oil/Big Chemical/Big Pharma. The bankstas want to establish a permanent financial straw into our community by forcing us to buy their unneeded product which actually pollutes our water and our bodies. Of course we’d have to buy the multimillion USD projects we don’t need and can’t afford (oh look more debt for tax payers!) as well.

      2) The scam artist part of the bottled water biz is Enron-esque complete with the notion of a water commodity manipulated in all manner of banksta ways including futures (like oil whose prices are manipulated on demand by bankstas ; see Stacyherbert | January 3, 2011 at 1:40 pm).

      The third case is the infamous Enron. This power behemoth traded everything from water futures to weather contracts and, ultimately, its reputation for lucre. This indescribable conglomeration of disparate businesses and private fiefdoms, abetted by a profusion of conflicted limited partnerships, became the seventh-largest U.S. enterprise. Self-satisfied to the extreme, Enron ignored the shrillest imaginable whistle blower. Yet even though it unfairly enriched management, defrauded investors, and impoverished its employees, its 18(I)-member board was cited as one of the five best corporate boards in America. When all is going well, it is human nature for directors to believe they deserve such praise. Yet the archives of business are rife with stories of overweening hubris followed by sheer disaster.

      (excerpt from “Groupthink in the boardroom: Clarence Darrow said, ‘To think is to differ.’” by Thomas R. Horton, Wntr 2002)

      3) Don’t forget that Arkansas is basically still a Chicago gangsta suburb. I recently got an earful about that and the massive corruption there still.

      4) Rather than “dust particles got into some water bottles during the capping of filled water bottles,” this is as close an admission you’ll get from the “Pure Mountain” scammers in Clinton, AK that they are slopping who-knows-what-the-$%^& into plastic-bottles-from-which-who-knows-what-the-$%^&-leaches-out (see “Don’t Buy A Nalgene Water Bottle Until You Read This,” TreeHugger.Com, by Lloyd Alter, Apr. 16, 2008).

      P.S. Bob, if your US rep is Giffords, this post has your name on it: “Duncan Hunter Wants to Slow Down DADT Repeal” (By: Teddy Partridge Monday May 9, 2011 3:50 pm) and an action to complete using Kelly’s handy look-up widget.

      • bobschacht says:

        P.S. Bob, if your US rep is Giffords, this post has your name on it: “Duncan Hunter Wants to Slow Down DADT Repeal” (By: Teddy Partridge Monday May 9, 2011 3:50 pm).

        No such luck. My rep. is Paul Gosar, a Tea Party dentist who most likely supports Duncan Hunter, who is, if anything, even worse than his Dad.

        A year ago, we probably would have called Giffords a Blue Dog. Now, she’s our heroine.

        Bob in AZ

  2. Peterr says:

    Right now, there are a whole bunch of folks who are at the mercy of the Mississippi River and its tributaries, and must depend on emergency shipments of bottled water until the flooding recedes and the water treatment facilities can be brought back on line.

    There’s never a good time for a product recall, but some times are definitely worse than others. A bottled water recall when hundreds of miles of levees are strained and breaking is definitely on the “worse” end of the spectrum.

    • emptywheel says:

      Yeah, I’m not entirely sure whether the Clinton water failure was flood related or just rain related. Definitely water related. In their case, they got the water back just as this was coming on–though I think they still recommend boiling. At least in their case, though, people still have homes in which to boil water.

  3. scribe says:

    I’m getting a good chuckle out of this, seeing as how one of the sidebar ads is for Enagic’s KANGEN water ionizer, asking whether it’s the best or just the most expensive.

    But, a bit more seriously, I think if we step back and look at things from a longer perspective, we’re likely to see that the same knuckleheads for whom Atlas Shrugged is a fantasy roadmap (and they may be on their second copy b/c the pages of the first got stuck together) are the ones whose fuckups are leading to incidents like this. They get all enamored of “the world is collapsing because of liberals” line to the point that they accept collapse as inevitable, the book as an instruction manual, and then blame it all on the non-existent liberals instead of looking in the mirror where the blame really belongs.

    Anyone want to take a bet on whether the manager of the water bottling plant complained about regulation and/or liberals before this happened? (After, he’s running too scared of regulation and regulators to make a peep.)

  4. MsAnnaNOLA says:

    Get a Berkey water purification system. Low tech but used by all the peace corps and disaster relief folks. It is a gravity water purification system. You pour water in the top and out comes clean beautiful water. Cost per gallon is pennies. Yes pennies.

    When we had a boil order here in New Orleans I had no worries even though I found out about it way after the fact.

    Bonus…you can get that nasty cancer causing flouride out of the water with a secondary filter that is available.

    Also removes: Volatile organic compounds like pesticide residue. Heavy metals, arsenic and a whole list of stuff I can’t even understand.

    Bonus #2? If the proverbial Sh*t hits the fan and all hell breaks loose, well at least you will have clean water. People can only live about 3 days without water.

  5. MsAnnaNOLA says:

    Oh and for info on flouride and how it is a drug used to shut down people’s thyroid some years ago in Europe and how it is also linked to cancer in little boys. Yes children…brain cancer not pretty.

  6. Neal Deesit says:

    For an overview of the history and growth of bottled water and the parallel disappearance of public water fountains, listen to Terry Gross’ interview Peter Gleick, author of Bottled and Sold: The Story Behind Our Obsession with Bottled Water

    At about 12 minutes into the interview, Gleick recounts how he used the FOIA to get information from the Food and Drug Administration on all its official recalls of bottled water. There were over a hundred, with the offending bottles variously containing mold, kerosene, algae, yeast, fecal coliform and other bacteria, glass particles, and crickets.