Does Dasani bottled water contain additives that are bad for you, that make it "the worst water bottle ever," such as salt, magnesium sulfate to make your mouth dry and potassium chloride, the same chemical used in a lethal injection to stop the heart? No, that's not true: At the concentration and volume present in the bottled water, the minerals are not dangerous to consume.
While it is true that Dasani water and several other brands of bottled water do contain these common food additives, they do not make the bottled water dangerous. Bottled water is regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The Dasani water label notes the minerals are added for flavor.
Alarmist claims about Dasani water have been circulating for years and have resurfaced again in a TikTok Video posted to Instagram (archived here) by phil_moreland, where it was published on May 31, 2021 with the caption:
Please Stop 🛑 Drinking Dasani Posted @withregram • @lordjamar Do the KNOWLEDGE to the ingredients you ingest...even WATER!
This is how the re-uploaded TikTok video by @justthenobodys appeared on Instagram on June 1, 2021:
(Source: Instagram screenshot taken on Tue Jun 01 22:06:54 2021 UTC)
The narrator misrepresents the purpose of the water additives by pointing to alternative uses of these essential minerals, such as claiming that magnesium sulfate is a drying agent and "makes your mouth dry on purpose."
Magnesium sulfate alone is different from anhydrous magnesium sulfate, which is what's used as a drying agent.
The video uses scare tactics to misrepresent these essential nutrients as if they are poisonous, such as saying that potassium chloride is the last injection of the three drugs used in a lethal injection, the one which stops a convict's heart. Dasani water is literally "the taste of death," the narrator says.
While true that potassium chloride is the final heart-stopping drug of the lethal injection series, it's also the same drug that a surgeon uses, in a different amount, to stop a patient's heart in order to perform life-saving heart surgery.
The potassium fact sheet from the National Institutes of Health says:
Potassium is present in all body tissues and is required for normal cell function because of its role in maintaining intracellular fluid volume and transmembrane electrochemical gradients
The fact sheet on magnesium states:
Magnesium is a nutrient that the body needs to stay healthy. Magnesium is important for many processes in the body, including regulating muscle and nerve function, blood sugar levels, and blood pressure and making protein, bone, and DNA.
The purified water bottled by The Coca Cola Company under the brand name Dasani does contain magnesium sulfate, potassium chloride and salt. The level of salt is so small that although listed as an ingredient, the label declares it is 0% of the daily value of sodium.
Purified water is a type of bottled water that comes from a municipal source and has been treated in some way: distillation, reverse osmosis, absolute micron filtration or ozonation. The Food and Drug Administration's fact sheet on bottled water explains:
For bottled water production, bottlers must follow the CGMP regulations put in place and enforced by FDA. Water must be sampled, analyzed, and found to be safe and sanitary. These regulations also require proper plant and equipment design, bottling procedures, and record keeping.
In addition, FDA oversees inspections of bottling plants. The agency inspects bottled water plants under its general food safety program and has states perform some plant inspections under contract. (Some states also require bottled water firms to be licensed annually.)
The acronym CGMP stands for Current Good Manufacturing Practices. Both magnesium sulfate and potassium chloride are on the list of food substances "affirmed as generally recognized as safe" (GRAS). In both cases each ingredient is recognised as a safe ingredient in human food and the exact amounts allowable are only limited by what is known to be the current good manufacturing practice:
(c) In accordance with §184.1(b)(1), the ingredient is used in food with no limitation other than current good manufacturing practice. The affirmation of this ingredient as generally recognized as safe (GRAS) as a direct human food ingredient is based upon the following current good manufacturing practice conditions of use
Other critics have made additional claims about the minerals in Dasani water not included in this TikTok video. An April 4, 2020, YouTube video has a clip showing tractors spraying fields, with the claim that potassium chloride is used as a fertilizer. This is true: As a fertilizer, potassium chloride is called muriate of potash. The insinuation that because the mineral potassium is important to plants it must be bad for people is baseless.
(Source: screenshots from Facebook and livelovefruit.com taken on Wed Jun 02 17:22:50 2021 UTC)
There is also a claim that at high levels, the minerals in Dasani water are teratogenic, that is: They can cause birth defects. Other articles and memes have also framed the ingredients as a lethal drug as well as a teratogen. A September 4, 2017, article on livelovefruit.com is titled, "Beware of Ingredients In Dasani Bottled Water: Tap Water, Known Teratogen, Lethal Drug, and Salt." The article's author states:
Magnesium sulfate has also been used to delay labor by inhibiting uterine contractions in pregnant women. This practice is slowly dissolving, however, as it has been shown that magnesium sulfate causes birth defects at high doses. After studies suggested that just 5-7 days of in utero exposure to high doses of magnesium sulfate caused birth defects, the FDA has now listed it as a known teratogen (Pregnancy Category D), with positive evidence of human fetal risk.
Of course, this effect comes with high levels, but as I mentioned above, I would personally choose a water that doesn't have this chemical added, period.
While the FDA does warn against the off-label use of magnesium sulfate injections beyond five to seven days to stop preterm labor in pregnant women, it still approves it for preeclampsia and eclampsia and approves the tiny amount used in Dasani water.
The FAQ on dasani.com does not reveal the exact proportion of the minerals, only to say:
The Coca-Cola Company® takes product safety very seriously and is dedicated to meeting, and in most cases exceeding, government-set regulatory product quality standards. After our water goes through the reverse osmosis process to remove impurities, DASANI® adds a variety of minerals, including salt, to create the crisp fresh taste you know and love although we are unable to disclose the exact quantities of minerals added to our water, we can tell you that the amounts of these minerals (including salt) are so miniscule that the US Food and Drug Administration considers them negligible or 'dietarily insignificant.'