The Environmental Protection Agency has a limit for how much inorganic arsenic, which is carcinogenic, is in drinking water. But the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is now proposing a limit on arsenic found in apple juice, a problem that’s been examined by Dr. Oz, Consumer Reports, and Food & Water Watch during the past few years.
FDA Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg, MD, indicates that she and her colleagues are confident in the comprehensive safety of apple juice for both children and adults, as the proposed rule would decrease the amount of carcinogenic arsenic found in fruit juice to 10 parts per billion– or the same as normal drinking water.
The FDA has looked at 94 apple juice samples, and discovered 95 percent of them held arsenic levels less than the proposed 10 ppb threshold.
“While the levels of arsenic in apple juice are very low, the FDA is proposing an action level to help prevent public exposure to the occasional lots of apple juice with arsenic levels above those permitted in drinking water,” said Michael R. Taylor, deputy commissioner for foods and veterinary medicine.
Regardless, inorganic arsenic can get into foods and drinks because it’s a naturally-occurring heavy metal that often hangs out in apple orchards and other produce fields that have been tested with arsenic-based pesticides previously. Inorganic arsenic is a known carcinogen, too, and has been associated with skin lesions, cardiovascular disease, developmental effects, neurotoxicity, and diabetes.
“We’re extremely pleased by the news that the FDA has proposed a standard that would reduce the allowable level of arsenic in apple juice, now holding the popular drink consumed largely by children to the same standard as our drinking water,” said the executive director of Food & Water Watch, Wenonah Hauter. “We’ll continue to lobby the agency to make sure they finalize and enforce these proposed standards.”
The organization wants the FDA to continue monitoring the amounts of heavy metals and contaminants in food, especially of the imported variety, since roughly two-thirds of the apple juice Americans drink originates in China.
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