Before you go dumping all your sparkling water down the drain, read this.
Do a quick online search for LaCroix right now, and it seems like the popular fizzy water maker is in big trouble. "LaCroix ingredients: Lawsuit alleges "all natural" claim is false" says CBS. And USA Today is even more over-the-top: "LaCroix faces lawsuit for allegedly including cockroach insecticide in its sparkling water."
Insecticide?! Yuck! But is your can of Pamplemousse really suspect? It's hard to say, but probably not.
First, filing a lawsuit isn't nearly the same thing as an actual judgment. All we know at the moment is that one woman, named Lenora Rice, and the law firm that represent her, Beaumont Costales, are claiming that they've done some tests on LaCroix, and have found that the flavorings aren't natural. Until a judge determines whether the suit has enough merit to actually move forward, and finally, if there's a trial, with actual evidence, this is nothing more than an assertion.
So what are they asserting? Here's the press release that Beaumont Costales put out after filing the suit. And here's the key information in the press release: "LaCroix ... contains ingredients that have been identified by the Food and Drug Administration as synthetic. These chemicals include limonene, which can cause kidney toxicity and tumors; linalool propionate, which is used to treat cancer; and linalool, which is used in cockroach insecticide."
Okay, that does sound scary. So let's do a little digging into those chemicals.
Limonene: According to the National Institute of Health, this is an oil found in citrus peels. In sufficient quantity it may be able to damage your kidneys, but too much water can damage kidneys too--I wonder why they didn't include that?
Linalool and linalool propionate: As the NIH puts it: "Over 200 species of plants produce linalool, mainly from the families Lamiaceae (mints, scented herbs), Lauraceae (laurels, cinnamon, rosewood), and Rutaceae (citrus fruits), but also birch trees and other plants..." Mint, cinnamon, and citrus sound like... flavors of LaCroix. And the propionate version? Found in ginger, among other places.
Here's the thing: Those chemicals can be made synthetically. But they are also naturally-occurring, and would (frankly) be impossible to remove from natural flavorings. Does this mean that LaCroix has never used artificial ingredients? Well, it's hard to say. And a judge may have to look into it, and make a decision about whether this lawsuit has merit.
But either way, it doesn't mean that your sparkling water is unhealthy. It's still a far, far healthier choice than many other drinks, including soda or beer.
So by all means, keep enjoying your Pamplemousse.