A new study conducted by Consumer Reports has found that 10 percent of juice on the market today has total arsenic levels greater than that allowed by the Food and Drug Administration for drinking water. The study also found that 25 percent of juice has levels of lead higher than that allowed for bottled drinking water.
Consumer Reports tested 88 of the most popular apple and grape juice brands, including Mott’s, Minute Maid and Welch’s. While there are two known types of arsenic (inorganic and organic), the majority of the arsenic found was inorganic, which means they are a human carcinogen. Human carcinogens involve any substance known to cause cancer in humans.
The study was prompted by a Dr. Oz episode in which the famous doctor revealed he had found arsenic in juices he and his team tested, a conclusion that was met with ferver from people such as ABC News’ Chief Health and Medical Editor Dr. Richard Besser who said Dr. Oz’s findings were “misleading” and “needlessly frightening.” Dr. Besser discussed the new findings on Good Morning America and now takes the position that he feels the FDA provided “faulty” information previously, and that they should hold the juice industry accountable.
“Back in September the FDA made a number of statements that reassured me. I’m much less reassured now. They published the test online, but withheld eight results that were very high,” Besser said, referring to the fact that the FDA previously said all juices sold in stores were safe, but then released a report last week that found eight of the 160 juices they sampled now exceeded their own “level of concern” for total arsenic.
While the FDA has arsenic and lead limits set for drinking water (both tap and bottled), there are no limits in place for juice. According to the FDA, if fruit juice tests at a level of 23 parts per billion (ppb), which is their “level of concern,” they will re-test the juice sample to see if the arsenic is organic or inorganic. However, that number is not mandatory. The advocacy arm of Consumer Reports, called Consumers Union, is asking the FDA to lower that number to three ppb for total arsenic and five ppb for lead in juice.
Dr. Manny Alvarez, senior managing health editor of FoxNews.com, said arsenic levels in juice – at any level – should not be tolerated.
“I don’t want to sound like an alarmist,” Alvarez said in September when Dr. Oz’s findings were first released, “but just look at the growing levels of learning disabilities, autism spectrum disorders and other diseases that seem so prevalent today as compared to decades ago.”