Everybody's favorite brightly colored, boldly flavored seltzer brand is being sued over the claim that its "all natural" label is misleading to consumers. The fun little detail many sites are using to sensationalize this story is that LaCroix uses an ingredient also used in cockroach insecticide — or even that it contains cockroach insecticide.
This is nonsense.
First, let me assure you that if LaCroix were indeed poisonous, I would have died months ago. I order LaCroix online in bulk (hot tip: Jet.com has the best prices) and have been known to knock back a pamplemousse or a passionfruit at the end of a hard day. And am I dead? No. Are my insides radioactive? No. Do I burp slightly more often than I might like? Look, we all make sacrifices for the things we love.
So, okay, yes, one of the ingredients in question, linalool, is used in insecticides — but, according to Popular Science, it also occurs naturally in many plants and is not poisonous to humans. And you know what else is in both seltzer and cockroach killer? Water. Just because two products share an ingredient in common doesn't mean they are the SAME THING. The other chemicals mentioned in the lawsuit, limonene and linalool propionate, are also safe for human consumption — especially when used in very small quantities, which they are in LaCroix. (The question of whether or not these substances qualify as "natural" is, of course, a more complex one, especially when you consider how many people seem to conflate "natural" with "good" or "healthy.")
The LaCroix team has asked us to stand with them as they deal with this PR nightmare, and I'm not the only one willing to go to battle to defend their honor. Because really, it would take a lot for me to turn my back on my beloved, bubbly elixir.
Here are all the things they'd have to put in LaCroix to get me to stop drinking it.
1. Caramelized onions. Delicious on pizza. Bangin' on a sandwich. But in sparkling water, I'd have to just say no.
2. Literal poison. As in, like, actual poisonous poison. The kind that would actually poison me.
3. Staples. Honestly, they'd add a nice shimmer, but not worth the risk of scratching up my throat.
4. Pumpkin spice. LOL JK, I'm a white woman, so obviously I'd drink this.
5. Ranch dressing. Too divisive a condiment. Not worth the drama, you know?
6. A human foot. Although if it were just, like, a teeny tiny trace amount and I were really thirsty, this wouldn't necessarily be an automatic dealbreaker.
7. Dog hair. Actually, eh, I bet I inadvertently consume about a pound of my dog's hair each week, and that hasn't killed me, so this one could be negotiable too.
8. The water that drips from the A/C on the subway. Also known as train juice. This, unfortunately, would be a hard pass.
9. The yoga mat chemical from the bread at Subway. Did we ever figure out if that controversy was also bogus? Let's leave it out of our sparkling water just to be safe.
10. E. coli. No thank you. Although, to be fair, it hasn't stopped me from going to Chipotle ...
11. The weird ketchup water that comes out before the actual ketchup. Hell no.
12. Coconut. Obviously this would taste like carbonated tanning oil and obviously it would be gross and obviously no normal person would like it.
And that's it. That's what it would take for me to ditch LaCroix once and for all. Just to be safe, though, I asked my very smart friend Rebecca, who has a masters in nutrition science, for her opinion about my favorite carbonated treat. She said, "I am a fan. It's hydration that tastes great! If it gets people to drink more water, then awesome."
"But what about the chemicals, Rebecca?" I asked, clutching an ice-cold can of sweet, sweet peach-pear.
"The chemicals don't worry me at all," she replied. "I don't see it any differently than vanilla extract."