Elevated Levels of Toxic Heavy Metals in Mixed Fruit Juices, Other Drinks: Study

A new study has found that some commonly consumed beverages contained levels of toxic metals that exceed federal drinking water standards.  In fact, five of the 60 beverages tested contained levels of a toxic metal above federal drinking water standards.  Two mixed juices had levels of arsenic above the 10 microgram/liter standard. A cranberry juice, a mixed carrot and fruit juice and an oat milk each had levels of cadmium exceeding the 3 parts per billion standard.

The sampled beverages, which included those commonly found in grocery stores – single and mixed fruit juices, plant-based milks, sodas, and teas – were measured for 25 different toxic metals and trace elements. Mixed-fruit juices and plant-based milks (such as oat and almond) contained elevated concentrations of toxic metals more often than other drinks.


What heavy metals were found in popular drinks?

Seven of the 25 elements exceeded drinking water standards in some of the drinks, including nickel, manganese, boron, cadmium, strontium, arsenic, and selenium. While lead was detected in more than 93% of the 60 samples, most contained very low levels, below 1 part per billion. The highest level (6.3 micrograms/kg ) was found in a lime sports drink, though that level is below both the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the World Health Organization (WHO) standards for drinking water.



Arsenic, lead, and cadmium are known carcinogens and well established to cause internal organ damage and cognitive harm in children especially during early brain development. Minimize the amount of these drinks you consume–and avoid giving them to infants and children.

Journal reference:  Tewodros, R.G., et al. Toxic metals and essential elements contents in commercially available fruit juices and other non-alcoholic beverages from the United States. Journal of Food Composition and Analysis, Volume 119, June 2023, 105230.