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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Is there Arsenic in Your Child’s Juice?


Recently I wrote about Why My Family Does Not Drink Juice and Why you Need to Know Where Your Honey Comes From. Now there arises another reason to be more aware of what we eat and drink.
This week Dr. Oz aired a show where he investigated arsenic in apple juice.  Much of our apple juice concentrate comes from China. China happens to have more naturally occurring arsenic in its soil. Additionally, China uses arsenic as a pesticide.
The EPA has set a limit of 0.01 parts per million (ppm) for arsenic in drinking water.Levels of arsenic in soil from 5 ppm up to 20 ppm are generally viewed as safe, even if contact with arsenic at these levels continues for many years. As the level of arsenic increases, however, there is some slight increase in the likelihood of chronic health effects from contact over many years. This could include a very small increase in the risk of cancer, and cardiovascular disease. These diseases are widespread, have many risk factors and take many years to develop - - so the part that environmental exposure to arsenic plays in the risk of disease is generally quite small.
Even if you do not drink apple juice you need to be aware of where the juice is coming from because apple juice is often used as a substitute for sugar in sweetening products.
In the study that Dr. Oz did he found that Apple Juices had higher than the  acceptable limits of arsenic set by the EPA for water.
Of these, 10 samples came back higher than the arsenic limit allowed in drinking water.
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
In the study it did say that the standard of deviation is 20%. This standard is a little high for my liking. But I would like to think that is because the sample sizes where small. But even with that standard deviation of 20%, three of the samples still have higher levels of arsenic than what is acceptable in our drinking water.  The brands that tested too high even after the standard of deviation of 20% were Motts, Juicy Juice, and Gerber.
Now the Website Fruit Juice Facts website has a rebuttal. They do not think that the standard for dinking water should apply to apple juice, because according to them people drink more water than they do apple juice.  Now for my two cents, children tend to drink more juice than adults. They also have a lower body weight. Because of this toxins accumulate much more quickly in their little bodies.
Couple that with the fact that a cup of apple juice is no different than a cup of soda, nutritionally,
So what is a concerned parent to do?
  • Limit the amount of juice your children drink, all types.  Pediatricians recommend limited the amount of juice young children drink to 4 oz. a day.
  • If and when you drink juice, drink organic juices, none of the organic juices tested had arsenic in them,
  • Read the label carefully, check for concentrate from China. Often the product will say packaged in the US but the source is from another country.  When in doubt choose products from the USA.
  • Contact your government officials and ask that they set safer standards for all of our food.  I personally would like to see them adopt the same standards as the European Union. 
  • Ask your elected officials to adequately fund the FDA so it can maintain safe food standards.  

Ultimately the decision is up to you as always. But for my family we add the arsenic problem to the list of Why my family does not drink Juice.


Good Girl Gone Green said...

And thats why I don't buy juice and juice my own veggies and fruit and buy organic produce! Gross and scary!

Conservamom said...

Isn't that terrible? I couldn't believe it myself. A few weeks ago I was already having issues with not finding apple juice made in the USA. This is however terrible! We are really steering clear of juice!

Lisa - the Granola Catholic said...

I stopped buying juice YEARS ago, but this news is too important not to share. It is important to go beyond the headlines too. All people are listening too is that there are two types of arsenic. Not that arsenic has been used to kill people .

Charise @ I Thought I Knew Mama said...

So scary! We only have organic orange juice in our house - and Baby doesn't have it - thank goodness.

Thanks for spreading the words on yet another important topic and for linking up at Green & Natural Mamas Thursday again!

Free Range Mama said...

Thanks! I hadn't thought of apple juice coming from CHina since we have such a wonderful national source for apples. It must be cheaper, of course...

We don't drink juice at home, only water or milk, simply because of the sugar content. Now this is another good reason not to! Gerber, a "trusted" baby source too!

Yes, another reason to know where your food comes from and another reason to grow your own when possible.

And the reminder that a lot of things are sweetened with apple juice concentrate... bah!

Lisa - the Granola Catholic said...

Free Range Mama, I never considered that apple juice concentrate would come from China, after all apples are an all American food. There have been too many food scares lately about food coming out of China, much of the news isn't even reaching the consumers. I just might have to do some more research on the subject for my readers.

Erin@TheHumbledHomemaker said...

WOW--a very informative post! My daughter really didn't drink juice at all her first three years, but she can no longer drink milk, so we have been giving her some. The only problem is that juice seems to be addicting, and she keeps asking for it. Thanks for this post!

Lisa - the Granola Catholic said...

Erin, so glad I could help out. When I here something about food safety, my first instinct is to dig to the bottom of the story and get ALL the facts. I realize that there is a difference between inorganic and organic arsenic, but many states have limits on total arsenic and so does the EPA.

Crunchy Con Mommy said...

Eek! So not cool. My son LOVES apple juice boxes. I am shuddering now at the thought of how much Juicy Juice he had this summer. He drinks juice so much more willingly than water, even on hot days. Any tips?

Lisa - the Granola Catholic said...

Crunchy Con Mommy, according to the tests, organic juices were okay, so I would make the switch to those, or look to make sure the juice you buy is a product of the USA. For more family we don't drink juice as a rule of thumb. I stopped buying juice many years ago. said...

This post is so informative. I would love for you to come
share it at FAT TUESDAY. I hope you will
put FAT TUESDAY on your list of carnivals to visit
and link to each week! said...

Thanks for linking your great post to FAT TUESDAY. Hope to see you next week! Be sure to visit on Sunday for
Sunday Snippets – your post from Fat Tuesday may be featured there!

Kelly said...

Very interesting! Thank you.

Tiny Blue Lines said...

Scary! My kids don't really drink juice either.

Jenna said...

thanks for calling attention to this! i appreciate your research and willingness to share!

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