Girardi | Keese

FDA discovery of arsenic worries apple juice drinkers nationwide

Residents across the state of California probably were just as shocked as we were when the Food and Drug Administration's proposed that the inorganic arsenic levels allowed in apple juice be lowered to those allowed in drinking water. While not shocking that the allowable levels should be lowered, the real concern lies in the fact that arsenic levels are present in this product at all.

It's not that the potentially harmful chemical is being put in products purposefully but rather is found naturally occurring and as a result of arsenic-containing pesticides used in the fields where apples are grown. But the concern has been elevated nonetheless and has many parents questioning whether they should consider it should be considered a dangerous product or not.

According to the FDA, they have been monitoring the presence of arsenic in apple juice for the past 20 years. In fact, just in 2011, an independent testing, conducted by Dr. Oz, indicated that some apple juices contained more than 10 parts per billion, which exceeds the EPA-determined safety thresholds for arsenic levels in drinking water. It's likely because of these findings, and the concerns raised by consumers across the nation, that the FDA proposed that a standard be set.

It's important to point out that there currently is no safe-threshold standard for arsenic levels in juice. An alarming fact when you consider how many lives could be in danger as a result of these harmful products. But if the FDA gets its way, a new standard of 10 parts per billion could be established, just like drinking water, making these products safer than they are now. The hope now is that legislators will listen and make a change for the better.

Sources: Reuters News, "FDA proposes to limit arsenic levels in apple juice," Esha Dey, July 12, 2013, "Arsenic in Juice: Do Parents Need to Worry?" Roy Benarock, MD, Dec. 6, 2011

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