Consumer Reports urges the FDA to limit consumers’ exposure to excessive levels of arsenic and lead in apple and grape juice, and argues that the level the FDA deems acceptable should be much lower.
Consumer Reports found that 10 percent of the apple and grape juice samples they tested had total arsenic levels exceeding federal drinking-water standards of 10 parts per billion (ppb) and 25 percent had lead levels higher than the 5 ppb limit for bottled water set by the Food and Drug Administration.
The EPA’s limit on arsenic in drinking water is 10 parts per billion. Currently, there is no limit on arsenic in apple juice. “While federal limits exist for arsenic and lead levels in bottled and drinking water, no limits are defined for fruit juices, which a recent Consumer Reports’ poll of parents confirms are a mainstay of many children’s diets.”
Arsenic can be organic and inorganic. Inorganic arsenic, like the kind found in pesticides, is toxic and a known carcinogen. Most of the arsenic detected in the Consumer Reports test was inorganic. And although the FDA considers organic arsenic harmless, when metabolized, organic arsenic can transform into inorganic arsenic.
The Dr. Oz Show also tested apple juice for arsenic levels commissioned by a private lab. The lab tested three dozen samples from five different brands of apple juice across three different American cities, and compared the levels of arsenic to the standard for water. Of these, 10 samples came back higher than the arsenic limit allowed in drinking water.
Because of the uncertainty about safe levels of arsenic in apple juice, some people have stopped buying juice altogether. As a part-time caretaker to both her grandchildren and great grandchildren, Judy Jeffery said she stopped buying juice for fear it could hurt her grandchildren.
Additionally, nutrition experts say apple juice compromises children’s teeth because of the excessive sugar. Apple juice has few natural nutrients, and in some cases, more sugar than soda.
“It’s like sugar water,” said Judith Stern, a nutrition professor at the University of California, Davis, who has consulted for candy makers as well as for Weight Watchers. “I won’t let my 3-year-old grandson drink apple juice.”
Most U.S. Apple Juice From China
Dr. Oz. who is Vice-Chair and Professor of Surgery at Columbia University, claims American apple juice is made from apple concentrate, 60% of which is imported from China, and suggests other countries may use pesticides that contain arsenic.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, only 17 percent of the apple juice sold in the U.S. is produced in America. The rest comes from other countries, mostly China, Argentina, Chile and Brazil.
“In just one type of juice, there can be apple concentrate from up to seven countries,” said Dr. Mehmet Oz, host of The Dr. Oz Show.
“Although arsenic has been banned in the US for decades, it’s not always regulated in other countries where it may be in the water supply or used in pesticides contaminating the juice you’re giving to your children,” said Dr. Oz.