Over the last few months there has been great debate over whether the juice we give our kids is safe. Dr. Oz did his own study which started the great awareness of this topic. The FDA didn’t agree with his findings, but Consumer Reports wanted to make sure about the report, so they did their own test. I wanted to share some of the findings with you, so you can make a wise decision for your family.
It is important for us to realize as parents that the FDA may not always give us the whole story about the ingredients in the products we buy.
For its new study Consumer Reports tested 88 samples of apple and grape juices sold around the nation. Included among those tested were popular brand name juices like Minute Maid, Welch’s and Tropicana.The study found five samples of apple juice and four of grape juice that had total arsenic levels exceeding the 10 parts per billion (ppb) federal limit for bottled and drinking water. “Most of the total arsenic in our samples was inorganic,” Consumer Reports noted.
The new report echoes a study commissioned by Dr. Mehmet Oz back in September. When Oz reported his findings on his popular television show, the FDA responded by calling Oz’s study flawed and “extremely irresponsible.”
You can read the FDA’s statements in rebuttal to these studies here: http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm271394.htm
Conclusions from Consumer Reports:
Consumer Report’s study, including tests of apple and grape juice, a scientific analysis of federal health data, a consumer poll, and interviews with doctors and other experts, found the following: Roughly 10 percent of our juice samples, from five brands, had total arsenic levels that exceeded federal drinking-water standards. Most of that arsenic was inorganic arsenic, a known carcinogen. One in four samples had lead levels higher than the FDA’s bottled-water limit of 5 ppb. As with arsenic, no federal limit exists for lead in juice. Apple and grape juice constitute a significant source of dietary exposure to arsenic, according to our analysis of federal health data from 2003 through 2008.
- Children drink a lot of juice.
- Thirty-five percent of children 5 and younger drink juice in quantities exceeding pediatricians’ recommendations, CR’s poll of parents shows.
- Mounting scientific evidence suggests that chronic exposure to arsenic and lead even at levels below water standards can result in serious health problems.
- Inorganic arsenic has been detected at disturbing levels in other foods, too, which suggests that more must be done to reduce overall dietary exposure.
- The FDA was quick to contest the report, saying that all apple juice sold in stores is safe. The agency said the testing was inaccurate because Oz tested for both organic arsenic, which is not harmful, and also inorganic arsenic. The results of testing for both combined, according to the agency, led to the conclusion of levels being dangerously high.
- The testing and analysis has led Consumers Union, the advocacy arm of Consumer Reports, to urge the federal government to establish a standard of 3 ppb for total arsenic and 5 ppb for lead in juice.
“We’re concerned about the potential risks of exposure to these toxins, especially for children who are particularly vulnerable because of their small body size and the amount of juice they regularly consume,” said Urvashi Rangan, Ph.D., director of safety & sustainability at Consumer Reports.
“What we’re talking about here is not about acute affects,” Urvashi Rangan, senior scientist at Consumer Reports “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.”
Consumers Union said that level of concern doesn’t take into account the risks of skin, lung and bladder cancer that can occur from repeated exposure to arsenic.
Dr. Manny Alvarez, senior managing health editor of FoxNews.com, said arsenic levels in juice – at any level – should not be tolerated.
You can download the whole study’s findings here from Consumer Reports.
How does arsenic get into our juice?
Arsenic is present in the environment as a naturally occurring substance and as a result of contamination from human activity, such as from the use of certain pesticides and fertilizers. It is found in water, air, food and soil.
There are two types of arsenic: organic and inorganic. The inorganic forms of arsenic are the harmful forms, while the organic forms of arsenic are essentially harmless. Because both forms of arsenic have been found in soil and ground water, small amounts may be found in certain food and beverage products, including fruit juices and juice concentrates.
What should you do?
- Limit the amount of juice your child drinks.
- Waterdown juices
- Eliminate juices from their diet, get them used to drinking water.
- You can flavor water with real fruits! Add fresh strawberries, blueberries, oranges!!
- Give your kids local, organic apples
- Make your own juices! Invest in a quality juicer.
Video: Dr. Oz on the HOT SEAT