Consumer Reports Finds Excessive Arsenic & Lead In Apple & Grape Juices

By Douglas Main | December 6, 2011 9:58 am

A new study by Consumer Reports found arsenic levels that exceed federal drinking water standards in 10 percent of the apple and grape juices tested. The group also found excessive levels of lead in 25 percent of grape and apple juices. Arsenic and lead are both poisonous and can cause health problems, especially in pregnant women, infants, and young children. Kids drink a lot of juice—more than one-third drink more than recommended by pediatricians. Although there is no technical limit for these chemicals in most juices and foods, these levels found in five brands exceed the 10 parts per billion allowed in drinking water for arsenic and the 5 ppb allowed for lead (find detailed information about individual brands tested here in a PDF). Consumer Union, Consumer Reports’ advocacy arm, called for the Food and Drug Administration to establish maximal safe levels for these contaminants in juices. Several studies suggests that chronic exposure to arsenic and lead—even at levels below water standards—can result in serious health problems, the group said.

The topic of arsenic is juice has been in the news since Mehmet Oz, M.D., host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” claimed to have found arsenic levels greater than 10 ppb in several brands of apple juice. But the FDA called Oz’s study irresponsibly flawed because it didn’t distinguish between organic arsenic, which is relatively nontoxic, and inorganic arsenic. The Consumer Reports study tested for the latter, dangerous form. And it may be having unrecognized health effects. “I suspect there is an awful lot of chronic, low-level arsenic poisoning going on that’s never properly diagnosed,” Physician Michael Harbut told Consumer Reports.

The FDA says it’s considering setting a maximum level of arsenic allowed in juices. Meanwhile consumer groups advise concerned parents to reduce children’s juice intake, to switch brands, or to replace them with healthier alternatives. The high sugar content of many fruit juices also make them a contributor to childhood obesity.

[Via Consumer Reports and Time]

Image credit stvcr / Flickr

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Health & Medicine
  • Chris

    So where is the arsenic coming from?

  • Barb

    If you click on the “new study” link, Chris, Consumer Reports explains.

  • john

    Where is the evidence of harm in this very small level? What kind (inorganic or organic) of arsenic is it? How does this compare with air and soil natural levels? How does apple juice compare with sea food? Juice vs water amount consumed determines the body’s dose. Arsenic is a common metal in the earth, soil, and water from natural sources (see Bengladesh water arsenic levels)

  • No Self Control

    john:
    1) The evidence is in multiple studies performed. Google is a wonderful tool. Feel free to use it.
    2) This very article notes that the Consumer Reports study focused on inorganic arsenic. Reading comprehension. It’s a wonderful tool. Try it sometime.
    3) What does it matter how apple juice compares with sea food, or that arsenic is a common metal and found in natural sources? The fact that someone might be poisoned by one source doesn’t mean that anything and everything goes. Given how poisonous lead and arsenic are, even at extremely low concentrations, means that every source should be scrutinized, within the bounds of cost-benefit.
    4) Are you seriously implying that because some 3rd world countries suffer from ground water arsenic poisoning, that makes poisoned juice okay in comparison?

    I suspect you have some political agenda that has nothing to do with factual truth. Or perhaps you’ve simply suffered from a lifetime of lead poisoning.

  • http://80beats Susan

    It is in the solder used to seal the vats, mainly. in China and several other countries. If you check the labels, reject any foods that have any ingredients from China which are prepared/mixed and/or heated in vats.

  • http://bet-ibc.com/ best asian bookmaker

    The presence of arsenic and lead couldn’t be the consequences of soil pollution or maybe excessive farming?

NEW ON DISCOVER
OPEN
CITIZEN SCIENCE
ADVERTISEMENT

Discover's Newsletter

Sign up to get the latest science news delivered weekly right to your inbox!

80beats

80beats is DISCOVER's news aggregator, weaving together the choicest tidbits from the best articles covering the day's most compelling topics.
ADVERTISEMENT

See More

ADVERTISEMENT
Collapse bottom bar
+

Login to your Account

X
E-mail address:
Password:
Remember me
Forgot your password?
No problem. Click here to have it e-mailed to you.

Not Registered Yet?

Register now for FREE. Registration only takes a few minutes to complete. Register now »