Dr Oz: Arsenic in Apple Juice?

Apple juice may contain unhealthy levels of arsenicSep 15 2011 – Arsenic in apple juice? That was the focus of a segment on The Dr. Oz Show that aired this week. Seems Dr. Oz did an independent investigation in his concern that unhealthy levels of arsenic may be getting into the American supply of apple juice.  It should be one of the most wholesome drinks for families.  After milk, it is often the first drink we give our kids.  But Dr Oz has discovered that apple juice can contain arsenic, a poisous metal, that can cause cancer and potention IQ problems.

Dr. Oz’s  investigation covered three different cities across America. Collected dozens of samples and send them to a lab with state of the art testing capabilities.  The results? Some of the best know brands of apple juice in America have arsenic levels higher that what is allowed in our drinking water!

How? Well no surpise! Dr. Oz explains it starts in countries like China, Argentina and Brazil, crossing our borders without regulation.

Apples harvested there may be sprayed with pesticides that contain arsenic. Those apples are pressed and turned into concentrate, ultimately becoming the juice we drink.

But the arsenic may be getting into the concentrate from multiple sources.  Even though arsenic may occur naturally in the water supply, these countries may allow more arsenic in their water than is considered safe in the United States. Now add that arsenic from these countries’ water supply to the arsenic in the pesticides.  That’s twofold.

To make apple concentrate you have to press out the water from the apple juice. The concentrate then gets shipped and bought to this country. Then during processing of the apple concentrate in this country’s processing plants, our water is added here which may also contain a regulated amount of arsenic.  That’s threefold! By the time the apple juice gets to you and your kids, it may have accumulated an unheathy amount of the cancer causing stuff!

So why is this allowed in the US?  Dr. Oz says the EPA has a limit on how much arsenic is allowed in our drinking water but there is no limit on arsenic in apple juice.  Apple juice concentrate not only affects apple juice drinkers.  Apple juice concentrate is in juice blends, fruit punch, candies, cereals, cookies, cakes and snack bars.

Patty Lovera from Food and Water Watch, one of the consumer groups that went on to investigate this, she says we should all be outraged. The FDA not only does not have a standard but when it comes to imports, they only look at less than 2% of imported food (processed foods, produce and seafood) are inspected when it comes into the United States.  So their watch group have seen product after product from China whether it’s tires or toothpaste or toys with lead paint. And now when it comes to food we have to worry about that too and the FDA is not up for the job.

Dr. Russell Greenfield MD author of Healthy Child, Whole Child tells Dr. Oz that the government is saying very little about the arsenic in the apple juice. In general,  they are saying “Don’t about it!”   Dr. Greenfield feels permissible levels of arsenic in our juices for our child should be close to zero! He does feel that the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) and OSHA (Occupational Safety & Health Administration)  are doing a good job at limiting exposure to arsenic. But FDA needs to step up to the plate. We need to fund them better so they can do a better job at protecting our children.

Dr. Oz is worried as a father but also as a doctor because he knows what damage arsenic can do. The liver is suppose to detoxify our bodies but when arsenic gets into our liver it becomes toxic to our bodies. Those toxins can effect our DNA which in turn could cause cancerous lesions on our skin, lungs, effect our nerves which in turn may effect the IQ of our children.

Dr. Oz wants to make it clear that he is not saying that arsenic is causing cancer in our kids. What he is arguing is that unregulated arsenic in the apple juice of our children is unacceptable!!

That is why he went to an independent, top notch lab to test the apple juice in America.  He went out collecting apple juice boxes from kids in the park to supermarket shelves and sure enough the boxes said variations of  “Packaged in USA, Product of Argentina, China”.

So, what were the tests results?

They tested 5 Brands, 36 samples, from three different cities and compared them to the limit allowed in drinking water, 10 parts-per-billion(ppb). This is how it came in:

  • Minute Maid 2 to 3 ppb
  • Apple and Eve (not organic) 3 to 11 ppb
  • Motts 4 to 16 ppb
  • Juicy Juice 2 to 22 ppb
  • Gerber 6 to 36 ppb

10 of those samples came back with higher levels of arsenic that we allow in our drinking water. And with such wide ranges of arsenic levels in one brand alone, it is like playing Roulette with your juice box.  Maybe the arsenic levels  should be printed on the box!

One of Dr. Oz’s fathers who provided Dr. Oz with a juice sample said he is furious that he has been administering poison to his children.  One mother looked like she was going to start crying as she told Dr. Oz that her kids have been drinking Gerber apple juice since her kids were babies!  Dr. Oz says he gets questions about why the kids aren’t doing well and then we find this stuff!!

How concerned should we be?  Dr. Greenfield says one box probably won’t hurt. The concern is chronic toxicity, being exposed to arsenic over and over again. There should be no acceptable level of arsenic to be given to our kids in their drinks. It is unconscionable to market these foods to our kids as the healthiest options available.

Who is in charge of looking out for us? The FDA. The Food and Drug Administration. They are in charge of setting arsenic limits. As of Dr. Oz ‘s airing of this show, September 14, 2011 the FDA has not set limits on levels of arsenic in juice.

So Dr. Oz called and invited them on the show. They declined but sent a statement. In short it said ”Samples thus far does not indicate a safety concern for these products.”

Along with the FDA Dr. Oz invited juice companies and The Juice Products Association to get their side of the story. No one wanted to come on the show and other than receiving a few pat statements, Dr. Oz was basically stonewalled.

The Juice Products Association said they cannot compare arsenic levels in water to arsenic levels in juice. Dr. Oz says he understands that. The average person should drink a lot more water than juice. The Juice Products Association said the average person drinks 4 ounces of juice a day so consumption of arsenic from juice should have a low impact. But that is not the reality of today’s American families.

So what is the solution? Dr. Oz said the FDA will try to work with Dr. Oz and follow up on his findings but as Dr. Oz pointed out the government can’t even balance our budget!. You might even want to write to your congressman to get regulations.

Dr. Oz suggests that as consumers, change is going to take place at the cash register! That’s where you demand change and where you take action!

    • Look for apple juice where the concentrate is from the USA. Make sure you look on the label closely and figure out where that juice came from. There will usually have two country notations. Where the product was packaged and where the actual concentrate came from. This information is very often in two different places on the label.
    • Buy Organic. None of the organic juice tested came back over the water arsenic limit.

Dr. Oz pointed out that the focus of his investigation was on apple juice and apple concentrate, not apples or applesauce.

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3 thoughts on “Dr Oz: Arsenic in Apple Juice?”

  1. yes i heard about apple juice from my friends mom and she was telling me that apple juice can cause cancer for kids and my son is 3 going on 4 and he has been drinking apple juice since he was younger So should I stop letting him drink apple juice until we find out that apple juice is all clear from this or until it is fixed??

    1. no, there are two types of arsenic… organic, which is good for you, and deadly arsenic which is bad. it is most likely not the bad kind!

      1. While there may be two types of arsenic, I would not want to assume that products coming from unregulated countries which use arsenic in their pesticides, are safe without proper testing. I would procede with caution and explore my options.

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