Concerning levels of heavy metals arsenic, lead in some fruit juices

A new investigative report conducted by Consumer Reports has just revealed that many commercial fruit juices* still contain “concerning levels” of heavy metals arsenic, cadmium and lead. For infants and children who typically consume a lot of juice and have still-developing brains and immune systems the findings are a red flag for parents to reduce their children’s consumption of commercial fruit juices testing high in heavy metals**.  The same holds true for pregnant women.  As for other adults, this is just one more source among many that add to the body burden toxic chemicals building up from food, food packaging, drinking water, personal care and home care products and the general environment.  Electing for fruit juices that did not test in the “concerning levels” category would be a prudent choice.

*Investigators examined 45 juices in four flavors: apple (22), fruit juice blends (13), grape (7), and pear (3).

**The harmful effects of heavy metals are well-documented. Depending on how long children are exposed to these toxins and how much they are exposed to, they may be at risk for lowered IQ, behavioral problems (such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), type 2 diabetes, and cancer, among other health issues. source


The consumer-advocacy organization Consumer Reports tested 45 fruit juices, including apple, grape and juice blends, and found that 21 of them had “concerning levels” of cadmium, arsenic and/or lead, according to a new report. Juice samples came from 24 national and private-label brands.

For instance, two Welch’s products contained levels of lead that exceed the standard for bottled water set by the Food and Drug Administration. And a sample of Trader Joe’s Fresh Pressed Apple Juice exceeded a 10 parts-per-billion threshold for arsenic that has been recommended as an allowable level…


Where is the FDA in all of this?

Several years back, the FDA proposed a 10 parts-per-billion limit on arsenic in apple juice, but the agency has yet to issue a guideline.

In response to the new report, an FDA spokesperson said in an email,

“We welcome the data provided by Consumer Reports and will review it in its entirety as part of our larger, comprehensive effort to reduce toxic element exposure…

“We know there is more work to be done to reduce these elements in our food supply and we place a high priority on reducing exposure among infants and children, as the very young are more susceptible to their potential adverse health effects.”

Arsenic can be found in other food sources so minimizing exposure when possible is always a good thing…

Metals can be naturally present in the soil. Past use of pesticides can also leave metal residues. Metals can also be present in the water used to irrigate crops, or they can be in water sprayed directly onto trees and plants, in countries outside the U.S.

And as the FDA points out, these heavy metals enter the food supply when plants take them up as they grow.    source

What do scientists say about the new findings?

“Research from Dartmouth and other institutions has shown that arsenic at levels below 10 parts per billion may have health effects on people and children. Ultimately, reducing exposure to all sources of arsenic is important to keep exposure levels as low as possible and if you have a private well with arsenic in your water, eat a lot of rice and drink a lot of juice, it is recommended that you reduce or change those exposure sources.”   –Dartmouth Toxic Metals Superfund Research Program

“Arsenic is potentially harmful to human health in multiple ways. Higher exposures are related to increased risks of certain cancers and heart disease, and may impact growth, brain development and immune function. Scientists are learning that health effects may occur even at low levels of exposure.”

-Dr. Margaret Karagas, epidemiologist at Dartmouth College who focuses on children’s health

Advice to consumers:

“Take action to reduce arsenic if you’re a pregnant woman, or have kids. Arsenic is harmful to child growth, development and brain function. Kids consume more food and water per pound of body weight, so they are more likely than other age groups to be exposed to too much arsenic.”

Dr. Carolyn Murray of Dartmouth


See the report here.

Arsenic and Lead Are in Your Fruit Juice: What You Need to Know

CR finds concerning levels of heavy metals in almost half of tested juices. Here’s how to protect yourself and your family.

Download a PDF of CR’s test protocol for heavy metals in fruit juices