Study: Questionable levels of arsenic in some fruit juices - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

Study: Questionable levels of arsenic in some fruit juices

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Released by Consumer Reports:

A new study shows there may be more to the fruit juices in your refrigerator than meets the eye.

A Consumer Reports investigation just released this morning reveals that there is a growing concern about the amount of arsenic found in apple and grape juices.

Arsenic is a naturally occurring poison that can contaminate drinking water, and the federal government sets limits on how much is allowed in bottled and municipal water. But it puts no limits on arsenic in juice.

Consumer Reports tested 28 apple and 3 grape juice in the New York metropolitan area and found worrisome levels of arsenic in a number of samples -- worrisome considering how much fruit juice many of your children drink.

Of the 88 samples analyzed, ten percent had arsenic levels that exceeded federal standards for bottled and municipal water.

"The majority of the arsenic detected was the inorganic form - a known carcinogen linked to skin, bladder, and lung cancer," said Dr. Urvashi Rangan of Consumer Reports.

And with 12 juices Consumer Reports tested, at least one sample contained lead levels that exceeded standards for bottled water.

"Our test was limited, so we can't draw any conclusions about any particular type or brand of juice. But the higher levels of arsenic and lead we found are troubling because many children drink a lot of juice, and their small body size makes them particularly vulnerable," said Rangan.

One likely source of the contamination is pesticides containing arsenic that were used in agriculture. Even though most are now banned, they can remain in the soil.

The advocacy arm of Consumer Reports is urging the Food and Drug Administration to set standards for juice.

"We think the lead limits should be five parts per billion, the current standards for bottled water, or even lower. And for arsenic - three parts per billion. That's attainable. 41 percent of the samples we tested met both those levels," said Rangan.

The Juice Products Association told Consumer Reports: "We are committed to providing nutritious and safe fruit juices … and will comply with limits" established by the Food and Drug Administration.

For now, Consumer Reports says the best advice for parents is to limit how much juice your children drink.

The Food and Drug Administration told Consumer Reports it's reviewing its own data to see if guidelines for juice should be set. It turns out the FDA has found levels of arsenic in apple juice that are even higher than what consumer reports' tests discovered.

For more information, visit http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/consumer-reports-magazine-january-2012/arsenic-in-your-juice/index.htm.

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