News, Culture & Society

ARSENIC found in fruit juice: Study reveals high levels of the metal in 50% of drinks tested

ARSENIC found in fruit juice: Study reveals high levels of the metal in 50% of drinks tested

  • Consumer Reports tested 45 juices and found 21 contained dangerous metals
  • Products sold at Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods were among the risky ones 

Arsenic has been found in fruit juices sold across the US, an alarming new report has found.

Tests by the non-profit research group Consumer Reports found dangerous levels of the metal – as well as lead, mercury and cadmium – in 21 of the 45 juices they tested.

Just half a cup of juice a day could drive up kids’ arsenic blood levels to dangerous heights, they warned.

What’s more, previous tests by Consumer Reports found arsenic and lead in a myriad of other infant baby foods, which could suggest that children may be exposed to metals in various ways on a regular basis. 

The chemists who conducted the tests said the implications are serious.  

‘Each of these metals has shown similar adverse effects on children’s developing brains and nervous systems, and there are potential additive effects,’ Consumer Reports chemist Tunde Akinleye explained. 

Consumer Reports found seven juices that could cause harm to children who drink more than four ounces a day

It is not the first time Consumer Reports has investigated metals in fruit juice. 

Their report in 2013, exposing high levels, prompted the FDA to officially explore new limits on lead and arsenic in juice. 

The new report, published today, found lower levels across the board, but the chemists who conducted the investigation said the levels are still higher than they should be. 

They found seven juices that could cause harm to children who drink more than four ounces a day:

  1. Trader Joe’s Fresh Pressed Apple Juice, 100% Juice
  2. 365 Everyday Value (Whole Foods) Organic 100% Juice, Concord Grape
  3. R.W. Knudsen Organic Just Concord Grape Juice
  4. Welch’s 100% Grape Juice, Concord Grape
  5. Welch’s 100% Grape Juice, With Grape
  6. Great Value (Walmart) 100% Juice, Cranberry Grape
  7. Welch’s 100% Juice with Antioxidant Superberry

Arsenic is hard to weed out of food and drink. 

It is found in many things – even in the drinking water supply of an entire Chilean community, who have evolved to be immune to it. 

But most of us are not immune, and even if we can resist its toxic effects, studies are clear that the metal has damaging effects on our bodies. A study in 2012 found pregnant mice exposed to arsenic in water had smaller babies who grew slower.  

The problem is: arsenic can enter into our food and drink in many ways that are hard to control.

It can be present in air, soil, water, and pesticides used for fruit and vegetables. 

Getting rid of it is possible – as many firms have shown by reducing their levels – but it’s often complicated, involving intervention at every point in the supply chain.  

For arsenic, the FDA’s limit in drinking water is 10 parts per billion (ppb), and it has not yet set a limit for juice. Consumer Reports’ chemists said they recommended 3 parts per billion after reviewing medical literature on the risks of exposure. 

For lead, the FDA’s limit in drinking water is 5 ppb and in juice is 50 ppb. Consumer Reports recommended aiming for less than 1 ppb. 

For cadmium, there is no explicit FDA limit in juice. Consumer Reports recommended less than 1 ppb. 

Consumer Reports is now calling on the FDA to take stronger action on curbing metals in products particularly those marketed to children.  


Comments are closed.