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Arsenic levels in bottled juice raise alarm

A study has revealed dangerous amounts of cancer-causing arsenic in 10% of bottled juices.  According to testing performed by Consumer Reports, arsenic levels in 88 apple and grape juice samples exceeded FDA limits for arsenic in drinking water.  (The FDA does not currently define limits for arsenic in juices.)  Furthermore, the magazine reports that 25 percent of juices also had lead levels higher than the FDA’s bottled water limit of 5 parts per billion (ppb).

FDA standards for arsenic in drinking water are set at ppb.  The levels in the juices surpassed 10 ppb.  Alarmingly, most of the arsenic detected was inorganic–a known human carcinogen.  The samples came from popular juice brands, including Welch’s, Minute Maid, and Mott’s.

As a result, the Consumers Union advocacy group (an affiliate of Consumer Reports) is urging the FDA to set standards of 3 ppb for arsenic and 5 ppb for lead in juice.  The FDA responded that it would conduct additional testing.  The agency later reported that, out of 160 samples tested, eight contained a concerning amount of arsenic.

According to Good Morning America,

Consumer Reports also analyzed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s data on arsenic in the urine of men and women who were willing to report their food and drink consumption for 24 hours prior. Analysis showed that people who reported drinking apple or grape juice had, on average, about 20 percent higher levels of total urinary arsenic than those subjects who did not.

A senior scientist with Consumer Reports noted that children may be at a particularly high risk of exposure to arsenic, due to ” their small body size and the amount of juice they regularly consume.”  The magazine is recommending that infants under six months of age consume no juice at all, and that children six and younger drink no more than four to six ounces of juice per day.

For more information on the Consumer Reports and FDA studies, visit consumerreports.org.

Entry Filed under: Products Liability

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