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Is There Arsenic In Your Juice?

Written by Janis Jibrin on

Odorless and taste-free, arsenic makes the perfect poison, and it has been used as such throughout history. Clearly, it’s not something you want in your juice—yet that’s exactly where it was found based on two recent, high-profile reports: one from the watchdog organization Consumer Union (CU), the other commissioned by Dr. Oz.

How does a toxin get into juice?

  • Pesticides. Although most pesticides that contain arsenic have been banned in this country, it’s still in MSMA, a pesticide commonly used on golf courses and in cotton fields. Residues from old pesticides also linger in the soil and get passed onto our food. Not to mention, much of the apple juice concentrate available in the United States now comes from China, where pesticide regulations are lax.
  • It’s added to chicken feed to speed up growth and kill parasites; the chemical makes its way into our soil because chicken manure is used as fertilizer.
  • Finally, Mother Nature contributes a little: Naturally occurring arsenic in rocks leaches into the water and soil.

Both CU and Dr. Oz found levels in some samples of Mott’s, Apple & Eve (not the organic version) and Gerber (not organic) apple juices that were higher than the acceptable levels for drinking water. CU’s test also found high levels in Walmart’s Great Value brand; Oz’s found high levels in Juicy Juice. CU found arsenic in some brands of grape juice as well, and other research indicates pear juice may have high levels.

Thanks to pressure from CU, Oz and other watchdog groups, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently proposed a limit of 10 ppb (parts per billion) for apple juice, the same upper limit for arsenic in drinking water. Until these limits go into effect and juices with high arsenic levels can be pulled from shelves, should you—or your kids—drink juice? The levels found in apple, grape and pear juices aren’t high enough to outright kill a person, even a child, but over time, they may increase the risk for diseases, such as cancer, type 2 diabetes and heart disease, and even lower IQ in children.

The only way to completely avoid arsenic in juice is to skip sipping. Eating whole fruit is always a better choice anyway—it contains fewer calories, more fiber, and the amounts of arsenic should be negligible. Think about it: It takes many oranges and even more apples to create a cup of juice. Making your own juice probably won’t help either, as the fruit (organic or conventionally grown) can come from arsenic-laced soil.

If you’re willing to take a small risk, then you—and your children—might consider limiting your intake to half a cup of juice two or three times a week.

Will these findings deter you from drinking juice?








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