No, there is no ‘poisonous’ bottled water in Namibia

IMAGE: Namibia Fact Check / WhatsApp

A viral post circulating in WhatsApp groups falsely suggests that there is chemically contaminated bottled water being sold in Namibia

The post, which is accompanied by an image of three bottles of water branded ‘Coral Dew’, warns against consuming any bottled water with “DEW” in its name, as it could be “poisonous”.

Namibia Fact Check could find no reports of Namibian consumers being warned or alerted about poisonous bottled water.

However, the claim around a vaguely identified brand of bottled water being chemically contaminated and “poisonous”, and having caused almost 200 deaths, has been around for more than a decade.

The post (image below) states:

“Hello, pls pass this to any friends on your contact list -I Just got this Please, don’t buy or drink any bottled water called “DEW”. It was shipped from Tanzania where it has killed 180 people. It is said to contain a poisonous chemical. Please pass this on and save millions. If you don’t believe check google for “DEW bottled water”

Claim history

This particular poisoned bottled water scare appears to have been circulating online since at least 2011.

An article dated 27 June 2011 on the Modern Ghana website states that the Food and Drugs Board (FDB) of Ghana had issued a consumer warning because “rumours had suggested that the DEW bottled water had been imported from Tanzania into Nigeria and was alleged to contain a chemical that had caused the death of 180 people in that country”. However, the article goes on to state that “the FDB established that the rumour was false”.

Another article, also dated 27 June 2011, published by Nigeria’s Vanguard also found that a text message claiming that a DEW branded bottled water was poisonous was false. The article states that Nigerian health authorities had established that “the text message is false and mischievous”.

The message was also debunked by American fact checker Snopes in August 2011.

Since 2011 the poisoned bottled water hoax scare seems to have resurfaced repeatedly.

The same post was debunked by Indian fact checker The Quint in May and June 2019, by Nigerian fact checker Dubawa in May 2020, and by Africa Check and Pesa Check in November 2020.


Based on the evidence and/or best available data / information the statements or claims assessed in this article are false.

9th November 2023

Tia-Zia //Garoes

Tia-Zia //Garoes is a fact checker and researcher with Namibia Fact Check.