News Feature | November 16, 2016

Bottled Water From Wal-Mart Contained Window Cleaner, Says Customer

Dominique 'Peak' Johnson

By Peak Johnson

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Wal-Mart may be in trouble after a customer reported that he was injured when drinking what he had believed to be store brand water, but contained a chemical similar to window cleaner.

John Cunningham filed a complaint against Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Premium Waters Inc. late last month, according to the West Virginia Record.

In the complaint, Cunningham stated that both he and his wife had bought one or more packages of Sam’s Choice Purified Drinking Water from a Wal-Mart store in Randolph County. “On that day, he opened the sealed bottle which ‘contained a very alkaline chemical mixture similar to window cleaner and containing, among other contaminants, ammonia.’”

The result of ingesting the substance left Cunningham suffering physical injuries that included “vocal damage, burns on his tongue and mouth, ulcers and polyps in his stomach and esophagus as well as scarring of his esophagus and damage to his kidneys.”

Earlier this spring, thousands of people got ill from norovirus contaminated water bottles in Spain.

“On April 25, the health department in Catalonia said that more than 4,100 people in the region came down with vomiting and diarrhea, symptoms of the notorious ‘stomach bug’ called norovirus, between April 11 and April 18. The illnesses were linked to contaminated office water coolers that were distributed to hundreds of companies in the cities of Barcelona and Tarragona,” Live Science reported.

Norovirus is one of the top 10 causes of outbreaks in public water systems, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). “Noroviruses may be found in water sources, such as private wells, that have been contaminated with the feces of infected humans,” the CDC reported.

Cunningham also said that he received medical care and may continue to do so in the future “because he could suffer future pain and suffering.” In addition, he “also claims past and future loss of wages and income, past and future impairment of earning capacity and past and future loss of enjoyment of life.”

Cunningham will seek compensatory and punitive damages for his ordeal.

To read more about bottled water visit Water Online’s Water & Wastewater Treatment For The Food & Beverage Industry Solutions Center.

Image credit: "Gravita" Carlo Baldino © 2011 used under an Attribution 2.0 Generic license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/