Arsenic in Fruit Juice — What’s a Parent To Do?

Sometimes it’s so confusing being a parent! You want to make sure your kids are safe and healthy, so you try to make the best decisions you can. And then something comes up that makes you scratch your head and worry that what you thought was good for your kids may not be.

Image: Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Take fruit juices, for example.

A recent study by Consumer Reports found levels of arsenic above the federal limit of 10 parts per billion for drinking water in 10 percent of the juice products it sampled. Earlier this year, the Dr. Oz show also reported finding levels above 10 ppb in several samples of fruit juices. This week, the U.S. Federal Drug Administration announced it is conducting its own testing and research about safe levels of arsenic in juice products.

These reports understandably have caused many parents to be concerned — and confused! 

According to the experts at America’s 57 poison centers, there are two types of arsenic: organic, which occurs naturally in air, soil and water; and inorganic, which can be found in pesticides, for example. Of the two types, the inorganic form is of more concern because it has been linked to health issues like cancer.

We should strive to have the safest levels of arsenic possible in our food, beverages and drinking water; however, because arsenic is naturally abundant in our environment, we won’t be able to get rid of it completely. More studies are needed as to the type (organic or inorganic) and the levels of arsenic in juice products, as well as any potential health effects. Evidence available today does not indicate widespread poisoning of our children by drinking fruit juices.

America’s poison centers recommend that, as parents, you should review all the information available and make decisions you feel are best for your family.

If you are concerned, you may decide to limit the amount of juice your children drink, have your children drink more water or milk, or dilute the juice with water. And, as always, if you have questions, call your local poison center at 1-800-222-1222.

The American Association of Poison Control Centers supports the nation’s 57 poison centers in their efforts to prevent and treat poison exposures. Poison centers offer free, private, expert medical advice 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We take calls in more than 150 languages and from the hearing impaired.

For questions about poison or if you think someone has been exposed to a poison, call 1-800-222-1222 to reach your local poison center.

2 comments

  1. That was my next question was… what levels of arsenic are considered safe? This story seems to have made it’s way around… hopefully we find out what’s safe and what’s not.

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