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Arsenic, lead found in many samples of grape and apple juice

November 30, 2011 | 11:05 am

Grape
Consumer Reports recently discovered high levels of lead and arsenic -- much of it inorganic and potentially carcinogenic -- in several samples of grape and apple juice that researchers bought in August and September.

The publication’s advocacy arm Consumers Union said Wednesday that the results should compel the Food and Drug Administration to limit the presence of the dangerous elements in juice -- a large part of many children’s diets.

The government agency currently regulates arsenic and lead content only in water. Consumers Union said the limit for juice should be 3 parts per billion for arsenic and 5 parts per billion for lead -- a threshold that only 41% of the group’s test samples met.

The 88 samples of juice tested by Consumer Reports were mostly made from concentrate and packaged in ready-to-drink boxes or bottles. A quarter exceeded the 5 parts per billion lead limit set for bottled water, and 10% surpassed the 10 parts per billion limit for arsenic in drinking water.

Samples with high arsenic levels came from brands including Mott’s, Welch’s and Gerber. High levels of inorganic arsenic can cause irritation in the lungs, vomiting and even death.

Recently, the FDA posted its own results of testing on apple juice samples, including two with as much as 45 parts per billion of arsenic.

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-- Tiffany Hsu

Photo: Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times

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