Are You Being Poisoned By Juice?

During September 2011, findings about unsafe levels of arsenic in widely available commercial brands of apple juice made headlines.  The FDA poo-pooed the reports, calling them “irresponsible and misleading” and saying that most of the arsenic found in fruit juices is the harmless organic form.  On his TV program Dr. Oz reported concerns with the arsenic levels in juice and was attacked by the mainstream media, juice manufacturers, and conventional medicine community.

However, a new report from Consumer Reports magazine refutes that.  In their study, 88 samples from 28 apple juices and three grape juices bought in the eastern US revealed that nine samples from five brands had total arsenic levels that exceeded federal drinking-water standards.

Consumer Reports cited their study in which nine samples from five juice brands had arsenic levels exceeding federal drinking-water standards.

In nearly all of the samples, most of the arsenic was in the harmful inorganic form, which has been shown to cause bladder, lung, and skin cancer, and has been associated with increased risks of cardiovascular disease, immunodeficiencies, and type 2 diabetes.  Consuming these drinks in addition to consuming arsenic found in other foods—including chicken, rice, and baby food—”suggests that more must be done to reduce overall dietary exposure,” according to the report.

Consumer Reports also tested for lead in the samples.  Similar to arsenic, there is no federal standard for lead in fruit juice, but using the threshold for bottled water (5 ppb), the investigators found that about 25% of samples had elevated levels.

Acknowledging the small number of samples with elevated arsenic levels, the FDA said it has expanded surveillance activities and is in the process of determining if a guidance level can be set to reduce exposure to arsenic in apple juice. In the meantime, I always recommend purified water.  Fresh organic vegetable juices are excellent as well as diluted organic fruit juices.  If possible make your own fresh juices.  There is no reason for adults or children to add calories or chemicals to their bodies in the form of caffeinated, carbonated, and/or sugar-sweetened drinks.