A recent study by Consumer Reports found levels of arsenic above the federal limit of 10 parts per billion for drinking water in 10 percent of the juice products it sampled. Earlier this year, the Dr. Oz show also reported finding levels above 10 ppb in several samples of fruit juices. This week, the U.S. Federal Drug Administration announced it is conducting its own testing and research about safe levels of arsenic in juice products.
The health experts at America’s 57 poison centers understand that these reports have caused many parents and caregivers to be concerned about the health of their children who drink fruit juices.
There are two types of arsenic: organic, which occurs naturally in air, soil and water; and inorganic, which can be found in pesticides, for example. Of the two types, the inorganic form is of more concern because it has been linked to health issues, including cancer.
We should strive to have the safest levels of arsenic possible in our food, beverages and drinking water; however, because arsenic is naturally abundant in our environment, we won’t be able to eliminate it completely. More studies are needed as to the type (organic or inorganic) and the levels of arsenic in juice products, as well as any potential health effects. Evidence available today does not indicate widespread poisoning of our children by drinking fruit juices.
The Utah Poison Control Center recommends that parents and caregivers review all the information available and make decisions they feel are best for their families. Parents who are concerned may decide to limit the amount of juice their children drink, have their children drink more water or milk, or dilute the juice with water.
As always, parents who have questions are encouraged to call the poison center at 1-800-222-1222.
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|Marty C. Malheiro, M.S., M.C.H.E.S.
Coordinator , Outreach Education