— The apple and grape juice your kids are drinking may have arsenic at levels high enough to increase their risk of cancer and other chronic diseases, according to a new study by Consumer Reports.
A full 10 percent of the juices tested by the magazine had arsenic levels higher than what is allowed in water by the Food and Drug Administration.
“What we’re talking about here is not acute affects,” Urvashi Rangan, director of safety and sustainability at Consumer Reports, told TODAY. “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.”
Consumer Reports tested 88 samples of apple and grape juices sold around the country. Included among those tested were popular juices like Minute Maid, Welch’s and Tropicana. The Consumer Reports research made a distinction between the two types of arsenic -- organic and inorganic. “Most of the arsenic” found in the tests was inorganic, a known carcinogen, according to the report.
FDA guidelines require water to have no more than 10 parts per billion of arsenic. Consumer Reports found higher levels in 10 percent of the juices sampled, including one grape juice that exceeded 23 parts per billion.
The new tests add to a growing body of evidence suggesting that juices may not be as safe as thought. Rangan pointed to an FDA study that found arsenic levels at 86 parts per billion in a baby apple juice.
A spokesperson for the Juice Products Association said she found the new report reassuring since 90 percent of the juices tested had lower levels of arsenic than what is required by the FDA in water.
Still, the new report may prompt the FDA to set new standards for juices.
That would be a good thing, Dr. Mehmet Oz told TODAY. And if we look at how the nation handled the lead problem, it’s clear that we can make a difference for our kids, he said.
“Twenty-five years ago we had a problem with lead in America,” Oz said. And we have over the last generation been able to reduce by 90 percent the amount of lead that our kids are exposed to and that is found in their blood. As a doctor it makes me much more confident that we can do the same thing for arsenic.”