WEDNESDAY, Nov. 30 (HealthDay News) -- The debate over the safety of fruit juice consumed by Americans escalated Wednesday with the release of a Consumer Reports study that found many apple and grape juice samples tainted with arsenic.
The researchers detected the chemical element at levels exceeding federal drinking-water standards in 10 percent of 88 juice samples tested. The samples involved five brands of juice sold in bottles, boxes or cans of concentrate.
"This is very disconcerting on several levels. Parents should be worried," said Dr. Peter Richel, chief of pediatrics at Northern Westchester Hospital in Mount Kisco, N.Y. "Hearing this should make parents say no to juice."
Most of the arsenic detected was inorganic, meaning it's known to cause bladder, lung and skin cancer. It can also up the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes, and some reports have stated that arsenic exposure can affect brain development in children.
Concerns about apple juice safety arose in September when Dr. Mehmet Oz, host of "The Dr. Oz Show," said that about one-third of apple-juice samples he'd tested had arsenic levels exceeding 10 parts per billion (ppb), which is the limit for drinking water. There are no federal limits for arsenic in juice or foods.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) responded with a statement that it "has every confidence in the safety of apple juice."
But rather than quell the debate, the FDA's response may have spurred Consumer Reports to do its own fruit-juice testing. The results are published in its January issue.
Arsenic levels in the grape juice samples were even higher than in the apple juice -- with the highest nearly 25 ppb, more than twice the limit for drinking-water safety, the researchers found.
Arsenic is a natural element that can contaminate groundwater used for drinking and irrigation. But i
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