A new study from Consumer Reports found that nearly 10 percent of 88 sampled juices had arsenic levels above the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) bottled water standard of 10 parts per billion (ppb). As the study suggests, arsenic levels in apple juices were as high as 13.9 ppb, while grape juice levels were even higher, with 24.7 ppb.
Consumer Reports initiated this investigation after controversy arose during a segment on "The Dr. Oz Show" revealing that 10 of three dozen apple juice samples tested had arsenic levels exceeding 10 ppb. The FDA originally stated that the arsenic found in these common juices was organic and "essentially harmless." However, upon further investigation Consumer Reports found that most of the arsenic discovered in these juice was inorganic, a form that has been linked to cancer.
Unfortunately, arsenic was not the only contaminant found in the juices. Twenty-five percent of the samples tested contained lead at levels above the FDA's bottled water limit of 5 ppb.
Currently, there are no arsenic or lead standards imposed on juice; however rising scientific evidence suggests that chronic exposure to arsenic and lead, even at levels below the FDA's water standards, can cause serious health problems. Despite the study's results, federal officials maintain that they are confident in the overall safety of the juice consumed in this country. Nevertheless, the FDA plans to increase surveillance of arsenic and lead levels in hopes of obtaining enough data to discern the risks associated with elevated levels of these contaminants.