There are growing concerns regarding reports about arsenic in bottled juices.
Consumer Reports recently tested 88 samples of locally purchased apple and grape juices from stores in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. They found that 10-percent of juice samples had arsenic levels that exceeded federal drinking water standards. Most of the arsenic detected was inorganic. And chronic exposure to arsenic at levels below water standards can result in serious health problems.
Urvashi Rangan, Ph.D., who directs the Consumer Safety and Sustainability Group for Consumer Reports, said that her organization did not release the story so consumers can “freak out about it.”
“We`re not talking about a glass of apple juice killing you,” she said. “This isn`t about acute health risks. What it is about, however, is chronic exposures and chronic health risks like cancer, skin cancer, lung cancer, bladder cancer, all associated with arsenic exposure.”
Dr. Drew reacted strongly to Rangan’s statements on his HLN show Wednesday night. “You need to understand how viewers hear your words," he said. "They hear, I`m going to get cancer if I drink this product. The fact is, there`s no causational link that is certain between any amount of arsenic and cancer that I`m aware of … there are concerns about arsenic and cancer over long, long, long periods of time.”
The Juice Products Association released a statement in response to the Consumer Reports study. "Juice is safe for all consumers of all ages ... the FDA has established a level of concern for inorganic arsenic in apple juice at 23 ppb (parts per billion) ... none of the juice samples tested by Consumer Reports exceeded the 23 ppb level of concern for inorganic arsenic."
Dr. Tasneem Bhatia, a pediatrician, agreed that there`s no reason to panic, but says she does have serious concerns.
“There are a host of pediatric conditions that we don`t have an explanation for,” she said. “And as we try to evaluate the environmental burden, a lot of research is pointing towards that environmental burden as being the cause. So, you know, yes, don`t panic, but I think the take-home message is, we need to be aware of what`s going on environmentally.”
Consumer Reports also released a recommendation for parents on how much juice children should have. They found that infants under six-months should have no juice. Children six-months to six-years, four-to-six-ounces a day, and older children, eight-to-12-ounces per day.
Ultimately, Dr. Drew said that people still need to give their kids their juices, noting, viewers can "go to bed tonight and not worry about this."
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