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More on Arsenic in Apple Juice

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More on Arsenic in Apple Juice

Arsenic, the poison of choice for bygone assassinations and mid-century murder mysteries, is a metalloid (sharing properties of metals and non-metals) that is found in rock and soil, with trace amounts in some areas and heavy concentrations in others. It has been responsible for the deaths and illnesses of many through water, food, and occupational exposure. It is has even been suggested that the painters Cézanne, Monet, and Van Gogh all suffered from the deleterious effects of arsenic as it was a component of their medium.

The issue of arsenic in drinking water isn’t a new one; arsenic leaches into groundwater causing varying degrees of contamination. And just because it’s naturally seeping from natural rocks doesn’t mean it’s harmless. The federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry lists 275 hazardous substances at toxic waste sites–arsenic ranks as number one, based on risks to people living around those sites.

As you may have heard, recently, celebrity health guru Dr. Mehmet Oz raised another concern beyond arsenic in our water. He claimed that not only does apple juice contain arsenic, but at levels much higher than what is deemed safe for our drinking water. To which the FDA counter-claimed with a statement that most of the arsenic in juices and other foods was of the so-called “organic” form, which the agency said was “essentially harmless.”

The Oz test results join a larger group of tests that have been conducted over the past several years. As reported on by Consumer Reports, tests by university researchers and other labs say they have detected levels of total arsenic in apple juices that were up to three to five times higher than the 10 ppb public drinking water limit set by the EPA, which is a limit that the FDA imposes for bottled water.

Aside from naturally occurring in rock formations, arsenic has had plenty of agricultural and industrial uses. For many, many years arsenic was a component in widely-applied insecticides used in orchards, vineyards and cotton fields. The use of lead arsenate insecticides was banned in the U.S. over twenty years ago, arsenic remains in the soil which can continue to contaminate fruit now grown in those orchards. Possible continuing use of arsenical insecticides in other countries, including China, which now supplies the majority of apple concentrate used in the U.S, is of concern as well.

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Read more: Children, Diet & Nutrition, Drinks, Eating for Health, Food

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Melissa Breyer

Melissa Breyer is a writer and editor with a background in sustainable living, specializing in food, science and design. She is the co-author of True Food (National Geographic) and has edited and written for regional and international books and periodicals, including The New York Times Magazine. Melissa lives in Brooklyn, NY.

60 comments

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7:52AM PST on Jan 20, 2013

Thank you for sharing.

5:25AM PDT on Apr 7, 2012

When these test are done to confirm the levels of safety for consumption, my concern is that the resposible individuals are allowed to distribute these dangerous products and the government allows it to go through!

At that point, wrongful death lawsuits occurs, but limits are put on recovery amounts, which isn't right, for after all, the consumer, was NOT responsible for this arsenal of chemicals that is placed into products in the first place.

It's like an automobile rolling off the assembly line, causes an accident, then is recalled.

How in heaven name, does a car(reject), leave the manufacturer in such condition.

I once worked for a TV company where we made TV, but we had inspectors to test the product before it's taken to stores for sale. If that TV didn't pass inspection, it had to go BACK on the line, OR corrections had to be made by the inspector OR whomever had the job of finding the problem.

12:35AM PST on Dec 3, 2011

Thanks for the article.

7:42AM PDT on Oct 20, 2011

It seems that almost anything and everything is harmful to us in one way or the other .

5:24AM PDT on Oct 3, 2011

I make apple juice @ home with apples picked from a local farmer. No matter what the product, it should not be purchased if it is made in CHINA. Lets try to keep people working both in CANADA & the USA.

1:14PM PDT on Oct 1, 2011

I'm still very confused on this issue......

3:09AM PDT on Oct 1, 2011

Hope my husband doesn't read this, I've been feeding him apple
juice for ages!

4:34PM PDT on Sep 30, 2011

I'm leery of anything from China. Beyond that, however, I can't make any kind of informed decision based on this article because of its generality (e.g. "the amount of inorganic arsenic in several samples of these juices exceeded the 10 ppb federal standard for total arsenic allowed in drinking water" - what's "several?" 2 or more?) and the apples and oranges (or pears and apples) nature of the data offered. Re. the point about the appearance of homemade v. commercial apple juice, if the arsenic is in the apples, I would think that distinction wouldn't make any difference, or else the more filtering the better. (Does filtering remove any arsenic?) About all I can say is, the government should do its job and perform the necessary research.

Read more: http://www.care2.com/greenliving/more-on-arsenic-in-apple-juice.html#ixzz1ZTuRK54e

2:39PM PDT on Sep 30, 2011

So are you saying we shouldn't drink apple juice? What about American apple juice sold over here?

2:31PM PDT on Sep 30, 2011

So is natural or organic apple juice made here in the US for the most part safe? Like on martinelli's website they mention arsenic and that their apples are grown here in the US.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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