Arsenic In Apple Juice! Is It Safe to Drink?

Photo: MNN
Photo: MNN

Let me say it again: there is arsenic in apple juice — and it’s not going away any time soon. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is working hard to set a max limit for inorganic arsenic (defined by the FDA as naturally-occurring, organic and “essentially harmless) levels in apple juice to 10 parts per billion (which is the same amount allowed in drinking water).

The issue of arsenic in apple juice was first raised two years ago on an episode of “The Dr. Oz Show”. After testing five brands of juice, Dr. Oz and his guests found the arsenic levels to be between 11 and 36 parts per billion — over the 10 parts per billion average. When the story hit mainstream media, the Consumer Reports released a follow-up study that analyzed 88 samples of apple and grape juice, finding that just about 10 percent of the samples had arsenic levels higher than 10 parts per billion.

Inorganic arsenic is “the chemical element found in the Earth’s crust,” said FDA deputy commissioner Michael Taylor. “It’s everywhere in the environment and can be found in water air and soil, in both organic and inorganic forms.”

But because of the high levels — is apple juice safe to drink?

The FDA says parent’s shouldn’t be worried about arsenic in apple juice. Last year, the agency analyzed arsenic levels in 94 samples of apple juice and found that 95 percent of the tested samples were below 10 parts per billion for both organic and inorganic arsenic. They also found that 100 percent of the samples were below 10 parts per billion for inorganic arsenic. While the FDA regulations take effect, Rick Cristol, the present of the Juice Products Association, said that, “Apple juice producers, as well as the FDA, want people to know they can be confident that apple juice is safe. Arsenic is a naturally occurring element in the environment and may be found in the air, soil and water. It is commonly found in harmless, trace amounts in many crops and naturally sourced foods. Humans have been exposed to it for thousands of years.” And with the FDA hard at work to reduce and regulate the inorganic arsenic levels in apple juice, Consumers Union, the publisher of Consumer Reports, is happy with the FDA’s “reasonable first step.”

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies under the age of 6 months do not drink any type juice, while babies 1 to 6 years old should have no more than 4 to 6 ounces a day.

Are you worried about the arsenic levels in apple juice?

Plus, more from The Bump:

Watch Out! Harmful Lead and Arsenic Found in Juice

When Is Juice Safe for Baby?

Best Foods for Baby (Plus a Few to Avoid)