Coca-Cola’s bottled water brand, Dasani, can be found everywhere — in vending machines, grocery stores and refreshment retailers. What’s seemingly a convenient way to consume water has been called into question since the brand hit the market. Conspiracy theorists claim that the water contains additives that make consumers more thirsty. Controversy over the source of Dasani water even caused the brand to be pulled from shelves in the U.K.
While the brand may not be the most natural and best tasting, the additives are proven to be necessary and harmless.
The internet’s been critical of Dasani since its release. According to BBC News, Dasani’s U.K. launch in 2004 proved to be unsuccessful, as the product was removed from shelves only five weeks later. Unlike other bottled waters sold in the U.K., Dasani came from a municipal source, meaning it’s filtered tap water. Once the media began releasing this information, public backlash ensued, with consumers considering Dasani a scam. Then, a contamination issue with possible carcinogenic bromate caused Coca-Cola to pull the 500,000 bottles that were in circulation.
While the water is still in the market in America, Dasani’s become a target for memes and Reddit threads by consumers who claim the water has a poor taste or contains harmful ingredients. YouTuber Shane Dawson posted a video about the conspiracy, speculating that the water “fizzes” more and has a different taste than other brands.
Unlike some other bottled water brands, which come from natural springs, Dasani uses the reverse osmosis technique to filter water. According to Peter Gleick, author of “Bottled and Sold: The Story Behind Our Obsession with Bottled Water,” bottled water companies have to put filtered minerals from the purification process back into the water. He told NPR that other companies like Aquafina use this same process so that all of its water can taste the same regardless of where it came from. This could explain the taste of salt and the list of ingredients.
Dasani’s water analysis report from 2019 proves that it’s safe and FDA approved, but it doesn’t publish a pH level. Consumers’ tests of Dasani’s pH vary, lying mostly in the 4 to 6 range. Water should be between 6.5 and 8.5 according to water-research.net. If Dasani really is below 6.5 pH, it’d be classified as soft water.
On the fizz of the Dasani bottle, Gleick told Business Insider that it’s probably from the pressure in the bottle. Due to the sealing process, he claimed that it’s unlikely that there’s any carbonation added. However, it’s unclear why other bottled waters wouldn’t make this noise, especially if the hiss upon opening is from the bottle manufacturing and not the added ingredients.
While Dasani has been proven to be safe to drink, it’s not natural spring water. The added ingredients are unlikely to be added to make consumers thirstier. However, consumers should be aware that they’re buying tap water with minerals filtered out and added back in. Dasani bottled water may be convenient, but it isn’t better for your body than water from the tap.
Diana Witt is a junior theatre and media arts and design double major. Contact Diana at firstname.lastname@example.org.