A study of popular juice box brands found levels of arsenic in some samples that surpass the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) level of "concern," 23 parts per billion (ppb), for heavy metals in juices. More than 25 percent of the 18 samples tested by The St. Petersburg Times contained between 25 and 35 parts per billion (ppb) of arsenic.
The Times commissioned the testing of eight national brands and one Florida brand of kid-friendly apple juice boxes to determine if the products pose any risks to consumers. Motts, Apple & Eve Organics, and Walmart's Great Value label all had levels of arsenic between 25 and 35 ppb. In addition to the FDA's standard, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has an established limit for arsenic in drinking water — 10 ppb, the same level set by the World Health Organization.
The other brands tested — Juicy Juice, Minute Maid, Tree Top, and Target's Market Pantry — did not surpass the FDA's concern level for juice, but each exceeded the EPA's limit for arsenic in drinking water. Although arsenic is naturally occurring element and some exposure can't be avoided, there is strong public health evidence that suggests arsenic intake should be limited. It has been proven to cause cancer when consumed at high levels in drinking water over a lifetime, and has also been linked at lower levels to diabetes, organ damage, and hormone system changes.
Despite the study results, federal officials have said they found no reason for parents to worry and don't consider this a health risk. Arsenic scientists, however, said that the levels found in the study are worrisome.