Lead And Arsenic’s Juicy Attacks

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Arsenic, a known and potent carcinogen and poison, is known to contaminate tap water. But recently, concerns are mounting that it’s getting into fruit juices, especially children’s.

Mehmet Oz, M.D., host of the Dr. Oz Show initiated the issue, announcing that tests run by the show had found arsenic exceeding 10 parts per billion (ppb) in apple juice.

There is no recommended safe level in foods, but the tap water level is 10 ppb. The United States’ Food and Drug Administration (FDA) tried to calm down shoppers regarding apple juice safety, stating that most arsenic in juices and other foods is organic, which is essentially harmless. However, unsatisfied with this, Consumer Reports magazine conducted their own tests and found that in five different brands, 10 percent of apple and grape juice samples had inorganic arsenic, a known carcinogen.

Additionally and alarmingly, lead (Pb) was found in 25% of samples, at levels higher than the FDA recommended 5 ppb for drinking water. Further data analysis shows that apple and grape juice are a major component of a human’s intake of lead and arsenic.

This problem is aggravated further by the fact that children love to drink juice and parents consider it healthy. The Consumer Reports “Parents Poll” pegged 35 percent of children under 5 drinking more juice than the advice of pediatricians.

According to Robert Wright, M.D., M.P.H., an associate professor of pediatrics and environmental health at Harvard University who specializes in research on the effect of heavy-metals exposure in children, expressed concern over these reports. He said that because of their small size, a child drinking a box of juice would consume a larger per-body-weight dose of arsenic than an adult drinking the exact same box of juice, and those brands with elevated arsenic should investigate the source and eliminate it.

A poison notoriously used as a poison in ancient times and a commonly used treatment for pine and timber to prevent rotting, a single dose of inorganic arsenic (about the weight of a postage stamp) could be fatal. Additionally, long-term exposure too much lower levels in food and water can result to chronic toxicity.

In 2004, diminished intelligence had been suggested in a study published by Joseph Graziano, Ph.D., a professor of environmental health sciences and pharmacology at Columbia University. This study involves children exposed to arsenic in drinking water at levels above 5 ppb. At present, he is conducting similar research with children living in New Hampshire and Maine, where arsenic levels of 10 to 100 ppb are commonly found in well water, to determine whether better nutrition in the United States affects these results.




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