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High Arsenic Levels Being Found in Apple Juice

A shocking investigation has revealed that some of the best known brands of apple juice contain arsenic.

American apple juice is made from apple concentrate, 60% of which is imported from China. Other countries may use pesticides that contain arsenic, a heavy metal known to cause cancer and heart disease.

Arsenic is a natural element of the Earth's crust and high concentrations in groundwater pose a public health threat to millions of people worldwide.

High levels of arsenic exposure from drinking water have already been related to an elevated risk of heart disease. Given the huge burden of heart disease worldwide, even a small increased risk associated with moderate arsenic exposure could be of major public health importance.

After testing dozens of samples from three different cities in America, Dr. Oz discovered that some of the nation's best known brands of apple juice contain arsenic.

The EPA has a limit on arsenic in drinking water – the level allowed is 10 parts per billion.

In 2001, a report from the National Academy of Science (NAS) said that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had underestimated the risk of bladder and lung cancer posed by arsenic in drinking water.

Several years later, scientists speaking at the Royal Geographical Society (RGS) at an annual meeting in London, said this will lead to higher rates of cancer in the future. About 140 million people, mainly in developing countries, are being poisoned by arsenic in their drinking water, researchers believe.

Currently, there is no limit on arsenic in apple juice. Of all samples tested, 10 came back higher than the arsenic limit allowed in drinking water. Some of the results below.

Note: Lab results standard deviation is +/- 20%

Minute Maid Apple Juice
Lowest Sample for Arsenic: 2 parts per billion
Highest Sample for Arsenic: 3 parts per billion

Apple and Eve Apple Juice
Lowest Sample for Arsenic: 3 parts per billion
Highest Sample for Arsenic: 11 parts per billion

Lowest Sample for Arsenic: 4 parts per billion
Highest Sample for Arsenic: 16 parts per billion

Juicy Juice
Lowest Sample for Arsenic: 2 parts per billion
Highest Sample for Arsenic: 22 parts per billion

Lowest Sample for Arsenic: 3 parts per billion
Highest Sample for Arsenic: 36 parts per billion

The disclosure, which may suggest that the apple juice is unsafe for children to drink, had drawn the attention from the FDA quickly. A letter of the agency dated Sept 9 and addressed to Ms. Barbara Simon, Producer of The Dr. Oz Show showed that the TV show producer notified the agency of its intent to release the test results.

The FDA characterized the releasing of the test results to suggest that apple juice is unsafe to drink as irresponsible and misleading and asked the show producer not to run the show.

The FDA said the content of arsenic reported by the testing company was total arsenic that included both inorganic and organic forms of arsenic. And only inorganic arsenic is toxic and the total arsenic does not indicate the magnitude of the potential risk, the agency hinted in its letter.

However, the up-limit of arsenic in drinking water set by the EPA is 10 parts per billion or ppb, which the EPA says clearly should include both inorganic and organic forms of arsenic. In other words, the EPA would consider drinking water with higher than 10 ppb of TOTAL arsenic unsafe to drink.

The FDA was trying prior to the show to stop the producer from disclosing the test results.

In the first letter, the food and drug regulator said "The FDA believes that it would be irresponsible and misleading for The Dr. Oz Show to suggest that apple juice contains unsafe amounts of arsenic based solely on tests for total arsenic."

Then on Sept 13, four days later, it sent the TV show a second letter to inform the producer that the agency along with two food testing companies (the FDA did not disclose the names) have tested the same lot and found total arsenic content was all below 10 ppb.

It remains unknown whether the FDA released ALL the results or only those showing the lower levels. Results from the testing company EMSL showed that some packages of Nestle/Gerber apple juice carried higher than 10 ppb of arsenic and others below 10 ppb.

In the second letter, the FDA said

"Based on our investigation and testing, we are concerned that some of the results reported to you by EMSL Analytical, Inc., may be erroneously high. The analysis of foods can pose a challenge to analytical laboratories and seemingly minor variations in sample treatment and analysis can have a significant effect on results."

The FDA wording may give the public an impression that the agency has a doubt about the accuracy of the test results from EMSL Analytical, Inc.

EMSL Analytical, Inc. is a leading testing company in the U.S.

A testing laboratory could get sued if its test results were erroneous and used in a way that it costs a company a substantial loss in its sales. So far, no lawsuit has been reported over the testing results.


Reference Sources
September 19, 2011


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