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A new lawsuit claims the ingredients in LaCroix sparking water aren’t natural — here’s why you shouldn’t worry

A new lawsuit claims the ingredients in LaCroix sparking water aren’t natural — here’s why you shouldn’t worry

LaCroix lists “essences” among its ingredients – and there is some mystery as to what those are

LaCroix advertises that these “essences” are key to its flavors, but it’s not entirely clear what they’re made of. Last year, The Wall Street Journal dug into the mysterious LaCroix flavoring, reporting that essence “is actually a clear, concentrated natural chemical that’s been used for decades in products as varied as gravy, ice pops, coffee, shampoo, and even insecticide.”

It’s created by heating items such as fruit and vegetable skins at high temperatures, producing vapors that are then condensed and sold by the barrel, the Journal report added.

LaCroix still hasn’t clarified whether the Journal was right, or what exactly these essences are, Business Insider reported. The company website only says that their flavors “are derived from the natural essence oils extracted from the named fruit used in each of our LaCroix flavors.”

The ingredients noted in Beaumont Costales’s statement about the suit – limonene, linalool propionate, and linalool – aren’t considered dangerous for humans

No matter how the flavoring ingredients in LaCroix are sourced or created, it’s good to know that the three ingredients named in the Beaumont Costales statement – limonene, linalool propionate, and linalool – aren’t considered dangerous for humans, as Popular Science reported Thursday.

(The statement doesn’t mention any other ingredients, so it’s not clear if there are others included in the lawsuit. Beaumont Costales did not immediately respond to INSIDER’s request for comment.)

Limonene, used widely as a flavor and fragrance, is “a naturally occurring chemical” that’s a major component of citrus peels, according to PubChem, a chemical database run by the US National Institutes of Health. The Beaumont Costales statement says limonene “can cause kidney toxicity and tumors.”

While there is data showing that limonene can cause these things to happen in male rats, a 2013 paper on limonene safety concluded that “notable toxic effects” have not been reported in humans, and that the ingredient “appears to exert no serious risk.” (Some research even indicates it may fight cancer, Popular Science noted.)

Linalool propionate (also known as linalyl propionate) is another flavor ingredient that’s naturally found in ginger as well as lavender and sage oils, according to PubChem. When the World Health Organization reviewed the ingredient, it found “no safety concern at current levels of intake when used as a flavoring agent.”

Linalool is another naturally occurring compound produced by more than 200 plants, including mint and cinnamon, according to PubChem. In addition to being used as a flavor, it is also used in insecticides, but just because something’s toxic to animals, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s bad for humans. (As Popular Science pointed out, we don’t ban chocolate just because it’s bad for dogs.) Linalool may cause skin and eye irritation and allergic skin reactions, but it’s considered safe as a flavoring, according to PubChem.

The ingredients are considered ‘synthetic flavoring substances’ – but that doesn’t mean they are unhealthy

It’s true that Food and Drug Administration (FDA) documents do list limonene, linalyl propionate, and linalool as “synthetic flavoring substances” – this seems to be the main argument behind the Beaumont Costales lawsuit – but as Popular Science reported, all these chemicals can be derived naturally, too.

And ultimately, a substance being natural or not isn’t the sole determinant of whether it’s good or bad for you. Both natural and synthetic substances can be harmful or beneficial.

“Whether a substance is ‘natural’ or ‘synthetic’ should not be a health issue,” Roger Clemens, an expert in food and regulatory science at the University of Southern California, told Popular Science. “It’s all about safety as assessed by experts in nutrition, food science, food toxicology, and medicine.”

Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more.

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