An apple juice a day boosts arsenic

December 2, 2011

Many fruit juices contain more arsenic than previously thought, more than the government allows in drinking water. But despite the findings of a recent Consumer Reports investigation, not much is expected to change soon.

As the investigation’s results were announced, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration tried to reassure consumers about apple juice’s safety in particular, faced with findings that 10 percent of samples tested by the consumer organization had total inorganic arsenic levels exceeding 10 parts per billion (ppb). That’s twice what the federal government allows for bottled water.

No such limits are applied by the FDA to fruit juice products.

Grape juice also tested high in the substance, with one sample at 24.7 ppm.

Over the past decade, most apple juice sold in the United States is blended from apple concentrate from China. However, some samples from exclusively U.S.-grown products showed similar levels of arsenic.

Mounting scientific evidence suggests that chronic exposure to arsenic and lead even at levels below water standards can result in serious health problems. But FDA officials expressed concern that policy standards “are difficult to change” if future conflicting data is developed.



  1. oto says:

    Which brings us back to San Luis Obispo County and the occupational hazards of living in an agricultural landscape.

    Arsenic is used for pest control on ag land which is why it shows up in our drinking water, as is documented in those little fliers they send homeowners every year that tell us the state of our water quality. Our water is routinely tested for certain chemicals and for certain levels of biologically hazardous agents.

    Some chemicals which are the byproduct of agricultural and industrial use are not even monitored. When I read that our water even contains detectable levels of tolulene, I decided maybe it was time to invest in a reverse osmosis machine.

    I was also shocked to learn that runoff from ag land is not treated, and is not directed to the wastewater treatment plant. Instead, if it is not reused by the landowner, it runs straight to the ocean. This has been the state of the art since farming began.

    But now, there are ways to reuse the water which is not absorbed by the land. The problem is, many farmers and ranchers are unable to afford such an irrigation system. Some are just not interested in implementing it.

    One thing is certain: the more people that understand how water can be recycled, the better. The more people who can teach us how water is treated to neutralize as much of the contaminents as possible, the more people will implement those practices.

    For all you old people out there who think they are losing their marbles, and can never find their keys, it may be the drinking water. Arsenic in the human body can mimick alzheimers and dementia.

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  2. Maxfusion says:

    Of course, apple juice the villain. Why didn’t I notice it decades ago? Now here I am still going strong 69 solar orbits into the game, despite my glass or two a day apple juice addiction. Could it be arsenic is good for you? Was my last blood analysis faked by operatives in the apple juice industry?

    What a bunch of rubbish. Bureaucrats justifying their unjustifiable existence.

    Submitted 1800hrs, 12/4/11 for approval by the CCN censorship board.

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  3. srichison says:

    Just because it’s “inorganic” doesn’t mean it isn’t “natural.” See the EPA discussion (it’s a brief and easy read) at

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    • racket says:

      Thank you for the debunking link.

      Skimming it, I find that “inorganic arsenic” (ie arsenic compounds that do not contain carbon) are typically the naturally ocurring ones. “Organic arsenic” is the compound more often found in pesticides.

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    • Cindy says:

      No place does it say that inorganic arsenic is naturally occurring. It describes natural occurring arsenic and then goes on to describe inorganic arsenic that is frequently found combined with other elements.

      Yes arsenic or organic arsenic naturally occur in nature and it can be found in our foods, water etc. especially with all the mining operations that have freed it into our environment. So can inorganic arsenic be found , it as been so widely used in pesticides.

      It does not say that inorganic arsenic is natural.

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      • R.Hodin says:

        I think a few posters are under the impression that the designations “organic” and “inorganic” have something to do with organic gardening or organic food standards, when they have more relevance to the pathway that arsenic has travelled through the biological (natural) and/or chemical (industrial) processes. The article notes in the chart that “organic arsenic” is found in shellfish. Organic arsenic is also listed as an ingredient in pesticides, which makes prefect sense that it is also found in shellfish (due to Ag or industrial runoff). Organic in a chemical or elemental sense merely means that the arsenic compound contains carbon molecules. I would suspect that the carbon compounds of arsenic may be more dangerous to life, even as they may be less common than the inorganic forms, as reflected in the chart.

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    • MaryMalone says:

      And “organic” isn’t always what you want in things you eat and drink.

      After all, earwigs are “organic.”

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  4. Cindy says:

    Judging by these posts, I’d say you all missed a word in this story.

    “10 percent of samples tested by the consumer organization had total inorganic arsenic ”

    The answer to the question about the arsenic is in the word ” inorganic” . This is not naturally occurring arsenic that they are talking about. What’s with the grape juice? I wonder what store shelf that lot ended up on, “one sample at 24.7 ppm.” Would any one here want to give that to your child or drink it yourself for that matter?

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    • r0y says:

      I’m not a chemist, so forgive my ignorance, but how can one tell if the arsenic found in juice is natural vs. inorganic? I suppose my first question would be to clarify “inorganic” – does that mean man-made/man-added? (Here, I am assuming it does).

      Next, I would ask are they chemically the same, the organic vs. inorganic? For me, it’s like saying “we found inorganic water in the fuel” (or something). H2O is H2O, how could one tell. Maybe the formula for organic arsenic is different, I don’t know.

      These are just the questions I’d ask if I were looking into this. Sure, it might show my ignorance in chemistry, but that’s ok, I know I am not a chemist.

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      • Typoqueen says:

        I’m not an expert either but from what I’ve read the organic arsenic is different from chemically made arsenic. The chemical arsenic is much more toxic and is made in a lab, it’s not a natural substance found in the environment.

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      • Cindy says:

        Yes they can tell the difference. Organic arsenic is a complex substance containing many identifiable intrinsic factors. It’s sort of like finding vitamin B6 isolated in your donuts. B vitamins are complex and if you don’t find that there are trace elements of the entire group, then somebody put the B6 in there. Also chances are that it will be at a concentrate that you will never find naturally occurring, except in a synthetic replication. YES they can tell the difference, the structure isn’t the same. “INORGANIC” = not natural, altered………..

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      • asthecrowphlies says:

        Oh come-on r0y ! It’s called google why don’t you try it you may learn something and stop wasting space in these post . You know you don’t have to post on VERY article right ? I’m not trying to get down on you , why don’t you volunteer at the homeless shelter , Hospice , tutor , learn to square dance ………………….

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  5. racket says:

    Perhaps the FDA’s limits are too stringent, if they exceed what occurs naturally.

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  6. 2dogsSantaMaria says:

    Yes, apple seeds contain natural arsenic.

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  7. r0y says:

    So… the question becomes: is arsenic NATURALLY occurring in apples? Or is this a result of processing or something?

    And why is this out all of a sudden? Is there a framework being laid to begin isolationism or something? I try not to buy anything from China, and I will not eat or drink foodstuff from there.

    Now I hear they are going to be making meds… so the country laces milk powders with melamine are going to be making drugs for us? Greaaaaat…..

    Doesn’t anyone do an internet search for “Food Safety China” – oh, there’s hours of reading fun there.

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    • Typoqueen says:

      It’s not just China that we need to worry about. Other countries such as Mexico don’t have the standards that we do, they can use anything on their produce.

      Yes arsenic is naturally in apples, but it’s also used in the pesticides that grow those apples. There is two different types of arsenic, the one that is manufactured is much more toxic than the arsenic that occurs naturally.

      I think it’s always good to go with caution, it’s better to be safe than sorry, especially when you’re talking about childrens developing little bodies and brains. I’ll side with Dr. Oz on this one but the following link contains both sides of the argument:

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