Enlarge /. Pictures of Real Water "alkalized" products that the FDA now says you shouldn't drink or use.
At least five infants and children in Nevada have developed acute non-viral hepatitis that resulted in liver failure after drinking Real Water-branded "alkaline" water, local and federal regulators reported this week. At least six others became ill from less severe conditions after drinking the water – and more reports continue to surface.
The first five infants and children with liver failure fell ill in November 2020 and had to be hospitalized. They have since recovered. They lived in four different households in southern Nevada. The other six sick – three adults and three children – came from at least two of the same households and reported vomiting, nausea, loss of appetite, and fatigue, according to the Southern Nevada Health District.
The health district is working to investigate the cases with the Food and Drug Administration. It is not yet clear what caused the diseases, but "To date, it has been established that consumption of Real Water branded alkaline water is the only common association between all cases," the Health District said.
The FDA has advised consumers, restaurants, and retailers not to drink, cook, sell, or serve alkaline water with "real water" until further information is known.
On Tuesday, a Las Vegas-based family filed a lawsuit against Real Water. According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal lawsuit, parents Emely and Christopher Brian Wren and their 2-year-old son fell ill after drinking the water. Both the father and the toddler were hospitalized with liver problems, while the mother suffered from extreme nausea and fatigue. The couple's daughter, who avoided the water, did not get sick.
On Thursday, the law firm Kemp Jones, LLP filed a second lawsuit against Real Water. The lawsuit alleges that a Nevada man who drank the water "suffered acute liver failure and was informed that he was a candidate for an immediate liver transplant," according to the review journal.
Attorney Will Kemp told the newspaper that the company had taken dozens of calls from other people who believed they had gotten sick from the water. The paper also shed light on two cases of Real Water consumers mysteriously getting sick. In one case, a generally healthy 69-year-old woman died of aspirated pneumonia and liver failure after drinking more than 64 ounces of water a day, according to the deceased woman's sister. Another woman spent nine days in the hospital collecting $ 100,000 in medical bills.
Real Water claims that its water, which is sold throughout the Southwest, is infused with negative ions and has a pH of 9.0. The company vaguely references unproven health benefits and suggests that drinking the water leads to "increased cell hydration." There are no proven benefits to alkaline diets and water, and the human body maintains its own healthy pH.
In a statement to the Associated Press, Real Water president Brent Jones said the company's goal is to work diligently with the FDA to achieve a speedy resolution on the company's "Las Vegas Home Delivery Operation".
"Real Water is asking all retailers to remove the product from the shelf with immediate effect and store it in the back rooms or return it to the retailer," said Jones. "Every customer who has bought Real Water from a retailer is asked to return the product."