The Consumer Reports research also discovered that 25 percent of apple juice samples had lead levels higher than that recommended by the FDA for bottled water. No federal limits exist for lead in juice.
Responding to Wednesday's report, the Juice Products Association issued a statement saying that juice is safe for all consumers, adding the industry "adheres to FDA guidelines and juice products sold in the U.S. meet and will continue to proactively meet or exceed the federal standards," the Los Angeles Times reported.
In a related analysis using government data, Consumer Reports researchers found that people who reported recently drinking apple juice or grape juice had about 20 percent more arsenic in their urine than non-drinkers.
Consumers Union, the advocacy arm of Consumer Reports, is urging the FDA to set arsenic and lead standards for both apple and grape juice, especially given that inorganic arsenic has been detected in other foods.
Lead in juice should be limited to 5 ppb as it is for bottled water, while arsenic in juice should not exceed 3 ppb, Consumers Union stated.
The group also encouraged parents to limit their children's consumption of juice per guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics: no juice for children under 6 months of age, no more than 4 to 6 ounces daily for children under the age of 6 years, and no more than 8 to 12 ounces for older children. They also recommend diluting juice with water.
But the presence of a potentially fatal element is only one reason children should be drinking little or no juice, said Richel.
"Juices are empty calories," he said. "They're laden with sugar and [carbohydrates] that lead to childhood obesity, and if children are allowed
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