If your kids are fans of apple and grape juice (and what kid isn’t?), take note: a new investigation by Consumer Reports has some concerning news about the levels of arsenic and lead found in the juices.
Consumer Reports recently tested 88 samples of apple and grape juice purchased in a variety of locations throughout New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. The juice came in ready-to-drink bottles, juice boxes and cans of concentrate, and CR attempted to purchase samples from three different lot numbers of most juices, when available. Ten percent of the samples had total arsenic levels that exceeded federal drinking-water standards of 10 parts per billion (ppb), and 25 percent of the samples had lead levels higher than the U.S. Food & Drug Administration’s (FDA) bottled-water limit of 5 ppb.
While there are already federal standards in place for arsenic and lead levels in bottled and drinking water (see above), there are none for arsenic and lead levels in fruit juices, which is particularly alarming, given the risk for serious health problems associated with them, including several forms of cancer. “What we’re talking about here is not about acute affects,” Urvashi Rangan, senior scientist at Consumer Reports, told TODAY’s Savannah Guthrie. “We’re talking about chronic effects. We’re talking about cancer risk. And so, the fact that 10 percent of our samples exceeded the drinking water standard underscores the need for a standard to be set in juices.”
Earlier this fall, Dr. Mehmet Oz raised concerns about arsenic in apple juice, but at that time, the FDA claimed there was no reason for worry and dismissed his show’s findings, stating that it had failed to discriminate between organic and inorganic arsenic. (The Consumer Reports study did distinguish between the two and found that most of the total arsenic in the samples was inorganic, which is thought to be more harmful than its organic counterpart.) Then, earlier this month, the FDA announced that it was seriously considering setting guidelines for permissible levels of inorganic arsenic in apple juice and was gathering data to determine what those guidelines should be.
For now, Consumer Reports recommends that parents limit their child’s juice consumption. Babies under 6 months of age shouldn’t have any juice, while kids up to age 6 should have no more than 4 to 6 ounces per day, and older kids should have no more than 8 to 12 ounces. Parents should consider diluting juice with distilled or purified water as well. Families should also check the water in their homes for arsenic and lead and consider using a filter to remove the metals if elevated levels are found.
How much juice do your kids drink in a day? Are you concerned about these new findings?